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Full text of "book_2_The_Ringing_Cedar_of_Russia"

RJndlnd Cedar! 
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Vladimir Megre 
The Ringing Cedars Series 

English translation by John Woodsworth 

@ Book i Anastasia 
(ISBN: 978-0-9763333-0-2) 

• Book 2 The Ringing Cedars of Russia 
(ISBN: 978-0-9763333-1-9) 

• Book 3 The Space of Love 
(ISBN: 978-0-9763333-2-6) 

m Book 4 Co-creation 

(ISBN: 978-0-9763333-3-3) 

-Book 5 Who Are We? 

(ISBN: 978-0-9763333-4-0) 

- Book 6 The Book of Kin 
(ISBN: 978-0-9763333-6-4) 

9 Book 7 The Energy of Life 

(ISBN: 978-0-9763333-7-1) 

6 Book 8, Part 1 The New Civilisation 
(ISBN: 978-0-9763333-8-8) 

m Book 8, Part 2 Rites of Love 
(ISBN: 978-0-9763333-9-5) 



Published by Ringing Cedars Press 

www, RingingCedars . com 




Anastasia herself has stated that this book consists of words 
and phrases in combinations which have a beneficial effect on the 
reader. This has been attested by the letters received to date 
from thousands of readers all over the world. 

If you wish to gain as full an appreciation as possible of the 
ideas, thoughts and images set forth here, as well as experience 
the benefits that come with this appreciation, we recommend 
you find a quiet place for your reading where there is the least 
possible interference from artificial noises (motor traffic, 
radio, TV, household appliances etc.). Natural sounds, on the 
other hand — the singing of birds, for example, or the patter 
of rain, or the rustle of leaves on nearby trees — may be a 
welcome accompaniment to the reading process. 



Ringing Cedars Press is an independent publisher dedicated 
to making Vladimir Megre's books available in the beautiful 
English translation by John Woodsworth. Word of mouth is 
our best advertisement and we appreciate your help in spread- 
ing the word about the Ringing Cedars Series. 

Order on-line www.RingingCedars.com ordering 

call / fax toll-free 1-888-BOLMENS details 

or call / fax 1-646-429-1986 see last page 

Generous discounts are available on volume orders. To help 
spread the word as an independent distributor, or to place the 
books in your bookstore, or to be kept up to date about future 
book releases and events, please email us at: 

info@ringingcedars.com 

or write to the Publisher, Ringing Cedars Press, 120 HanaHwy 
#9-230, Paia, HI 96779, USA. We also welcome reviews, 
poetry and artwork inspired by the Series. 



Vladimir Megre 

THE 

RINGING CEDARS 

OF RUSSIA 



The Ringing Cedars Series 
Book 2 



Translated from the Russian by 
John Woodsworth 

Edited by 

Leonid Sharashkin 




Ringing Cedars Press 

Paia, Hawaii, USA 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia by 

Vladimir Megre 

Translation, Translator's Preface and footnotes by 

John Woodsworth 

Editing, Editor's Afterword, footnotes, design and layout by 

Leonid Sharashkin 

Cover art by 

Alexander Razboinikov 



Copyright © 1997 Vladimir Megre 
Copyright © 2005 Leonid Sharashkin, translation 
Copyright © 2005 Leonid Sharashkin, cover art 
Copyright © 2005 Leonid Sharashkin, design and layout 
Copyright © 2005 Leonid Sharashkin, preface, afterword, 
footnotes 



All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced 
or transmitted in any form or by any means, except for the 
inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without permission 
in writing from the publisher. 



Library of Congress Control Number: 2005901794 
ISBN: 978-0-9763333-1-9 



Published by 

Ringing Cedars Press 

www.RingingCedars.com 



Contents 



Translator's Preface .vii 

i. Alien or Man? i 

2. A money-making machine 19 

3. Healing for hell 24 

4. A confidential conversation 27 

5 . Where are you, my guardian angel? 31 

6. The cherry tree 36 

7. Who's to blame? 43 

8 . The answer 50 

9 . Dachnik Day and an All-Earth holiday! 64 

1 o . The ringing sword of the bard 73 

1 1 . A sharp about-turn 80 

12. Who sets the course? 84 

13. Money from scratch 85 

14. A destructive force 90 

15. 'Herbalife' entrepreneurs 98 

1 6 . Fr e e holid ay s in Hawa ii 102 

17. The beginning of perestroika 104 

18. Fellowship of Russian entrepreneurs 108 

19. Suicide? 112 



vi Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

20. The Ringing Cedars of Russia 116 

21. Untitled 134 

22. Unravelling the mystery. 136 

23. Untitled 137 

24. Father Feodorit 139 

25 . The Space of Love 154 

26. Anastasia's grandfather 161 

27. The anomaly 171 

28. Illusory people 183 

29. Why nobody can see God 186 

30. Dawn in Russia 193 

31. How to produce healing cedar oil 199 

32. Title! 205 

33. Your sacred sites, O Russia! 212 

In Anastasia's Ray. Editor's Afterword 236 

About the Ringing Cedars Series 244 



Translator's Preface 



Most readers of this present volume will have already mar- 
velled at the euphoric and mind-boggling revelations con- 
tained in Megre's first book, Anastasia (published in English 
translation by Ringing Cedars Press in February 2005). 

In addition to offering the reader fascinating glimpses into 
the story of the publication of the first book, this second 
volume, The Ringing Cedars of Russia, delves deeply into the 
ethical and metaphysical concepts behind Anastasia's sayings 
presented so dramatically in the 'series opener'. The chapter- 
titles associated with these concepts range from the mystical 
("The Space of Love") to the mysterious ("Illusory people") 
to the theological ("Why nobody can see God") to the down- 
right practical ("How to produce healing cedar oil"). They all 
ring a chord of response in the reader's heart and soul and at 
the same time call upon the thinker in each reader. And out 
of concepts such as these pop up at least as many questions as 
answers — questions that may well cause the reader either to 
re-examine or re-affirm his or her basic concepts of life. 

My own involvement with The Ringing Cedars of Russia did 
not pass without a personal effect on me (independently of 
the actual translation process, in which I take special care to 
be guided by objective professional standards). In no small 
measure the opportunity to work closely with the book not 
only reconfirmed much of what I already believed, but also 
helped me rediscover my own faith, allowing me a fresh look 
at a number of concepts I had been brought up on from 
childhood (like moving around a three-dimensional object 



viii Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

and seeing it from a different angle). It also caused me to re- 
examine the reasons for believing in what I had long believed 
(including the practical understanding and application of a 
spiritual approach to healing), and for this I am grateful. 

Indeed, it is hard for me now to believe that at this time 
last year I had never even heard of a Siberian recluse named 
Anastasia, or a Russian writer named Vladimir Megre, or a 
Russian-American forester named Leonid Sharashkin, or the 
mysterious 'Ringing Cedars'. Yet these are names that, since 
entering my field of awareness in September 2004, have not 
only become a significant focus of my professional activity as 
a translator but also figured prominently in my daily thought, 
conversation and life experiences. 

Within four months I had not only read the first three 
books of Megre's Ringing Cedars Series but also completed 
the translation of Book 1, Anastasia. And now, less than four 
months after that, the translation of Book 2 is ready to go to 
press and I have already started work on Book 3. 

Translating the 'cherry-tree' chapter brought back a par- 
ticular memory of my initial read of the three books. This 
had taken place back in September and October, when our 
Ottawa weather still allowed a pleasant outdoor afternoon sit 
on our front porch. With its south-west exposure and view 
of nothing but the fields and trees across the road, the porch 
made an ideal spot in which to absorb this brand new liter- 
ary adventure into the delights of a summer glade in the far- 
off Siberian taiga. The afternoon sun was bright and warm 
enough to permit me to dispense not only with heavy outer 
clothing (which had already sprouted on the backs of many 
pedestrians on downtown sidewalks here) but also with my 
eyeglasses, which I am accustomed to make use of during any 
indoor reading. 

During the same period I was especially struck by the fol- 
lowing incident. On the porch, right in front of where I was 



Translator's Preface ix 

sitting, stood a clay pot containing several red geraniums my 
wife had planted earlier in the year. My reading prompted me 
to look at them — and one flower in particular (the one closest 
to me) — through new eyes. I began to regard it with warmth 
and affection (I would even say love) every time I saw it. 

Of course I had known from news reports about the ef- 
fect of people's thoughts and attitudes on growing things, but 
it was not until my reading of Vladimir Megre that I had re- 
ally seen anything like this in practice. My newfound feelings 
for the geraniums remained strong throughout the month of 
October, and as the days gradually grew colder, most of the 
flowers in our garden (as well as other geraniums on the same 
porch) faded and expired for the season. But the geraniums 
in this pot, especially the one closest to me, refused to fade or 
even droop with the cooling of the air. Even toward the end 
of October, when I finished my reading of Book 3, it was still 
standing proud and just as bright red as when my attention 
was first drawn to it. And even when I saw it months later, 
all bent to the ground by winter snows, its vivid red hue had 
scarcely faded. 

Two other extraordinary coincidences occurred in our 
home during this period. In mid-November, just after I had 
finished translating the "Concert in the taiga" chapter in 
Anastasia and was working on the description of Anastasia's 
dance routine in the morning mist in the following chapter 
("Who lights a new star?"), my wife Susan, who had not read 
any of the text at this point, presented me with a poem she 
had recently written. The poem was entitled Gracefully, the 
dancer... and described a dance of a young girl "where all move- 
ment conforms to poetry" and whose "life itself had become 
a never-ending dance" — rather close indeed to Megre's own 
expression. 

Three months later, shortly before the first print-run of 
Anastasia rolled off the presses in February 2005, Susan, an 



x Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

amateur artist as well as a poet, showed me a coloured-pencil 
drawing she had just been working on of a nude figure in her 
twenties with blonde hair, her hands upstretched to the heav- 
ens, the parts of her body drawn with colours of Nature in- 
stead of the flesh, and with a face very similar to the illustra- 
tion of Anastasia on the cover of the Russian edition. The 
remarkable thing is that at that point my wife had not read 
any of the text about Anastasia, nor even seen a portrait of 
her, and did not have her consciously in mind as she was doing 
the drawing. 

In his Afterword, editor Leonid Sharashkin will be shar- 
ing with you similar 'coincidences' from his own experience 
connected with the publication of the English translation of 
Anastasia in America. These and the hearty welcome of the 
book in the English-speaking world are indeed reminiscent of 
the surprising reaction of thousands of readers to the book's 
initial appearance in Russia in 1996. 

Hearing the impressions shared with me by the first read- 
ers of Anastasia in English — by people from quite different 
walks of life — I have come to appreciate just how far-reach- 
ing and universal Anastasia's message is in its scope. For one 
thing, it does not limit itself to any formulated creed. It is 
not a new religion with a new set of doctrines for which we 
must necessarily abandon whatever we believed in previ- 
ously in order to follow. It speaks to the hearts and minds 
of people of many different religions as well as, equally, to 
those who profess no religion at all. It speaks to the hearts 
and minds of many scholars and students of the physical sci- 
ences — especially those who are reaching out to explore the 
more holistic dimensions of their fields and to find answers 
that lift them beyond the confines of their specialist train- 
ing and into an understanding of how their investigations 
relate to the universal aspects of Man, Nature, the Cosmos 
and even God. 



Translator's Preface xi 

In addition to a deeper exploration of these universal con- 
cepts, Book 2 offers an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at 
how Book i finally came to be written and published. Like all 
great mind-stirring works of history, the birth- throes attend- 
ing its emergence into light came at a considerable price to 
the author. Just how high the price was — indeed, the whole 
chain of extraordinary circumstances that led from the wilds 
of Siberia to the book's appearance on Moscow street-corners 
and its eventual inclusion in national best-seller lists — is part 
of the fascinating adventure you will now share with the au- 
thor as you journey from the mental heights of a taiga glade 
to the urban depths of Russia's capital city, passing indeed 
"through the valley of the shadow of death" 1 en route, along 
with a surprising encounter in a completely different tree- 
lined setting and a final stop in the foothills of the Caucasus 
mountains for yet another amazing discovery 

While the book's message is indeed universal in its scope and 
applicable to individuals the world over, there is no escap- 
ing the fact that its original expression, in terms of not only 
words but concepts, draws in significant measure upon the 
Russian tradition, and this fact, as with its predecessor in the 
series, presented its share of challenges to the English transla- 
tor. Two of these deserve particular mention here. 

First, the Russian word sviatyni (derived from sviatoi = holy 
or sacred) has no direct equivalent in English. It refers not 
only to holy places such as sanctuaries, tabernacles, shrines 
and crypts, but also to sacred objects (including icons, stat- 
ues and relics), sacred texts (e.g., the Bible or the Koran) 
and even trees. Having the same root as the Russian word 
for 'light' (svet), sviatyni may also be used to designate sacred 
concepts such as spirit or grace. None of these alternatives by 

^salm 23: 4 (Authorised King James Version). 



xii Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

itself would be sufficient to compass the range of the original 
Russian term. Since most of its occurrences relate to what 
we call 'locations', it was eventually decided to use the awk- 
ward but more or less accurate combination sacred sites as a 
general equivalent and employ alternative translations where 
the context required. 

Another Russian word whose translation engendered con- 
siderable discussion was pervoistoki — derived from two ba- 
sic roots: perv- (first, primary, primal) and istok- {origin, source, 
spring — as in describing the headwaters of a river, for exam- 
ple). The compound term, especially as used in this book, un- 
mistakably conveys the sense ofapure, uncontaminated source, 
and this eventually led to the selection of the particular com- 
hm&tiori pristine origins. Other specific translation challenges 
are documented, where appropriate, in the footnotes. 

Again, as in Book 1, the footnotes are also used to give 
background information on specific people, places and events 
unfamiliar to most English-speakers. 

And now, dear readers, I need only invite you once again 
to find yourselves a comfortable reading-place — preferably 
one shielded from the possible intrusion of artificial sounds 
(a quiet outdoor setting would be ideal!) — and join with me 
in exploring the second instalment of the author's adventure 
through both the geographical space of Russia's vast distances 
and the mental space of the spiritual essence of the Universe, 
as revealed by The Ringing Cedars of Russia. 



Ottawa, Canada 

April 2005 JohnWoodsworth 



Chapter One 



ien or ivia 



Before telling about further happenings connected with 
Anastasia, I should like to thank all the leaders of religious 
denominations, scholars and journalists, along with ordinary 
readers, who sent in letters, religious literature and comments 
regarding the events recounted in my first book. Anastasia 
has been called many things. The press has referred to her as 
Mistress of the taiga, 1 a Siberian wizard-girl, a fortune-teller, a 
divine manifestation, the girl from outer space. And so when 
one Moscow journalist asked me: "Do you now love Anasta- 
sia?", I replied to her: "I can't really tell what my feelings are." 
And all at once the rumour started flying around that I was 
incapable of grasping anything at all because of my immatu- 
rity in spiritual matters. 

But how can one love when it's not yet clear just who is 
there to be loved? After all, no one has yet been able to come 
up with a single definitive description of Anastasia. On the 
basis of her assertion: "I am Man, a human being — I am a 
woman!" 2 I've been trying to come up with some sort of ex- 
planation for her extraordinary abilities. Initially everything 
seemed to be falling into place. 



taiga — the Russian name given to the boreal forest that stretches across 
much of Siberia and northern Canada. 

The word Man (with a capital M) is used throughout the Ringing Cedars 
Series to refer to a human being of any gender. For details on the word's us- 
age and the important distinction between Man and human being please see 
the Translator's Preface to Book i. 



2 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

Who isAnastasia? 

A young woman, born and living as a recluse in the remote 
Siberian taiga, brought up after the death of her parents by 
her grandfather and great-grandfather, who have also been 
living the life of a recluse. 

Can one consider the loyalty of wild animals to her some- 
thing unusual? 

Even this is nothing out of the ordinary Many animals in 
peasant farmyards get along peacefully with each other and 
treat their human masters with respect. 

A much more difficult task is determining the mechanism 
whereby she is able to see things at a distance and can know 
details of various events, even those that occurred thousands 
of years ago, and to be completely conversant with our con- 
temporary way of life. How does this ray of hers work when 
it heals people far away, when it penetrates the depths of the 
past or peers into the future? 

Philosophy professor Kim Ivanovich Shilin, 3 who is also a 
Corresponding Member of the International Academy of In- 
formatisation (MAI), has written a number of articles analys- 
ing Anastasia's sayings. In one of them he wrote: 

Anastasia's creative potential is a gift of God, a gift of Na- 
ture, which is universal, not merely a personal gift to her. 
All of us collectively, and each one of us in particular, are 
connected with the Cosmos. 



3 Kim Ivanovich Shilin — Doctor of Social Sciences, senior researcher at 
Moscow State University's Institute for Asian and African Studies, known 
for his interdisciplinary research in philosophy, ecology, sociology, cultural 
and Asian studies, aimed at a synthesis of Eastern and Western cultural 
principles. He has authored numerous articles and several books on ecoso- 
phy (the interpretation of cultural and social phenomena on the basis of a 
culture's relationship to and perception of Nature). 



Alien on Man? 3 

The means of escaping an approaching catastrophe lie 
in a harmonious synthesis of our cultural principles. The 
development of this type of harmoniously pure childhood 
culture results in a "feminine" cultural type. This cultural 
type has been expressed most fully and clearly in Bud- 
dhism, but also in our Anastasia. It may be formulated in 
the following identification chain: 

Anastasia = Tara = Buddha = Maitreya. 4 

Anastasia is in the fullest sense Man in the likeness of 
God. 

Whether this is true or not is not for me to decide. Only 
I can't understand why, then, she hasn't written down any 
teachings, like all other enlightened people in the likeness of 
God, and instead has concentrated, all during her two dec- 
ades of conscious awareness, on dachniks. 5 

Nevertheless, in reading what various scholars have to say, I 
have been able to conclude that she is not some kind of crazy 
person, inasmuch as there are at least hypotheses in the scien- 
tific world about what she has talked about, and experiments 
are being conducted on certain aspects of her sayings. 

So, for example, to the question: 'Anastasia, by what means 
do you discern and depict all the different situations of thou- 
sands of years ago and even decipher the thoughts of the great 
thinkers of the past?" she replied: 



4 Tara — a female Buddha, a deity capable of removing interferences and 
putting things in perfect order. Maitreya (literally, 'the loving one') is de- 
scribed as the future Buddha, associated with friendliness, success and 
prosperity. 

5 dachniks — people who spend time (their days off, especially summer holi- 
days) at their dacha, or cottage in the country Unlike most cottages in the 
West, a dacha is invariably accompanied by a garden where fruits and veg- 
etables are grown to feed the family all year long (for further details, please 
see the Translator's Preface to Book 1 in the Ringing Cedars Series). 



4 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"The first thought, the first word was the Creator's. His 
thoughts still live today, surrounding us unseen and filling uni- 
versal space, reflected in material, living creations produced 
for the number one creation, Man! Man is the child of the 
Creator. And, like any parent, He could wish for His child 
no less than what He has Himself. He has given him all. And 
even more — freedom of choice! Man can create things and 
perfect the world by the power of his thinking. No thought 
produced by Man disappears into oblivion. If it is a thought 
of radiant brightness, it will fill the space of light and rise on 
the side of the forces of light. A dark thought, however, will 
fall on the opposite side. And today any Man may make use 
of any thought produced at any time either by people or by 
the Creator." 

"Then why doesn't everybody use them?" 

"Everybody does, but in varying degrees. To use them, one 
is obliged to think, and not everybody succeeds in doing this 
because of the vanity of daily life." 

"So, all you have to do is think, and the ability comes to you? 
And you can even discern the thoughts of the Creator?" 

"In order to discern the thoughts of the Creator, one must 
attain a purity of thought appropriate to Him, as well as the 
pace of His thinking. To discern the thoughts of enlightened 
people, one must possess their purity of thought and the abil- 
ity to think at the same rate. If a given Man has insufficient 
purity of thought to communicate with the dimension of the 
forces of light — the dimension in which radiant thoughts 
dwell, — then Man will draw his thoughts from their dark 
counterparts, and will end up suffering himself and causing 
others to suffer." 

I'm not sure whether this is directly or only indirectly ex- 
plained by Academician Anatoly Akimov, 6 Director of the 
International Institute of Theoretical and Applied Physics at 
the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, in his article in the 



Alien on Man? 5 

magazine Chudesa i prikliuchenia (Wonders and Adventures) enti- 
tled "Physics recognises a Supermind". He writes as follows: 

There have existed, and there exist now, two schools of 
thought, two models of perceiving Nature. One model 
is associated with Western scholarship — i.e., knowledge 
gained on the methodological basis prevalent in the West: 
evidence, experiments, etc. The other is the Eastern ap- 
proach, wherein knowledge is received from an external 
source through esoteric means in a state of meditation. 
Esoteric knowledge is not something acquired, it is con- 
sidered a gift to Man. 

As it turns out, at some point this esoteric approach 
was lost and a different route was embarked upon — one 
extremely slow and complex. Following this route, it has 
taken us over a thousand years to arrive at a level of knowl- 
edge which was common in the East three millennia ago. 



Anatoly Evgenevich Akimov — first introduced in Book 1, Chapter 7: 'Anas- 
tasia's ray". Though it is not commonly known, the USSR maintained an 
extensive research programme on psychic phenomena (for details please 
see the well-researched book Psychic discoveries behind the Iron Curtain by 
Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder). Anatoly Akimov headed one of 
the many groups of scientists charged by the KGB and the Soviet Defence 
Ministry to find a scientific explanation for paranormal phenomena and 
some people's extraordinary abilities in clairvoyance, telepathy and tele- 
kinesis (moving solid objects by mental power alone) with a view to their 
applications to intelligence and military purposes. Akimov's and other 
teams' experimental observations of these phenomena — in particular the 
direct control of human mind over physical objects — indicated that on a 
deeper level consciousness and matter have essentially the same nature, and 
led to the study of torsion fields. Many "traditional" scientists, jealous of 
the generous funding his group was receiving, were quick to label Akimov 
as a 'pseudo-scientist' and 'charlatan', and charge him with "fraud and fal- 
sification of scientific research", even though they themselves still cannot 
explain such phenomena, let alone answer even more basic questions such 
as What is matter? and What is energy? 



Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

I have the intuitive feeling that those are right who say 
that the matter filling the whole Universe on a field level 7 
is some kind of interrelated structure. In his book The sum 
of technologies, in a chapter entitled "The Universe as super- 
computer", Stanislav Lem 8 proposed the existence of a gi- 
gantic computer-like Universal brain. Imagine a computer 
the size of the observable Universe (with a radius some- 
where in the order of 15 billion kilometres), filled with ele- 
ments taking up a volume of between 10 and 33 cubic cen- 
timetres each. 

And here this brain which fills the whole Universe is 
naturally endowed with powers which we are incapable of 
imagining or even fantasising. But if you take into account 
that in reality this brain functions not according to any 
computer principle but on the basis of torsion fields, 9 then 
it all becomes clear: the manifestations of the Absolute 



1 field level (Russian: polevoy uroven) — the level of a number of 'fields' (such 
as electromagnetic and gravitational fields) filling the Universe but not di- 
rectly observable by the material senses. 

Stanislav Lem — Russian science-fiction writer best known for his novel 
Solaris, first made into a film by Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972 
and thirty years later in a Hollywood version by Steven Soderbergh. Inci- 
dentally, Lem's Solaris appears to be the inspiration behind the plot of Gene 
Roddenberry's first Star Trek feature-length film (1979). 

9 torsion fields — the term first introduced in 19 13 by a prominent French 
mathematician, Elie Cartan (1869-1951), to refer to a hypothetical field 
generated by a rotating object. This term later became used to signify the 
'original' field permeating the whole Universe, a spinning field considered 
to have formed the physical vacuum and given birth to all matter. If matter 
can be thought of as 'frozen energy', then energy can be equated to 'frozen 
torsion fields'. While modern physics still lacks the appropriate technology 
to detect torsion fields, the notion that everything in the Universe is born 
from a spinning void is one of the oldest concepts in virtually all traditional 
cultures (note its ages-old symbolic manifestation in the rotating cross (or 
swastika) — a symbol found in all cultures on all continents). 



Alien on Man? 7 

proposed by Schelling 10 or the Shuniat 11 of ancient Vedic 
literature — these in essence constitute a computer. And 
there is nothing in the world apart from this computer. 
Everything else is some form or other of the Absolute. 

This is what Academician Vlail Kaznacheev/ 2 Active Mem- 
ber of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, wrote about 
the Ray in his article "Living rays and a living field" 13 in Chude- 
sa i prikliuchenia (Wonders and adventures) of 3 May 1996: 

Friedrich Wilhelm von Schelling (1775-1854) — German philosopher, who 
developed a dialectic of Nature as a living organism and an unconscious, 
spiritual, creative principle. 

Shuniat — the Buddhist concept of the 'void', or the space in which all 
exists. 

"Vlail Petrovich Kaznacheev (1924-) — a prominent member of the Russian 
Academy of Medical Sciences from Novosibirsk, specialising in the inter- 
relationship between Man and Nature, including bio-systems and informa- 
tion processes. A decorated World War II veteran, Dr Kaznacheev has re- 
ceived numerous awards for his research and publications. 

I3 In America pioneer research on the fields surrounding living organ- 
isms was carried out by Dr Harold Saxton Burr (1889-1973), Professor of 
Anatomy at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr Burr discovered 
"that man — and, in fact, all forms — are ordered and controlled by elec- 
trodynamic fields which can be measured and mapped with precision... the 
'fields of life' are of the same nature as the simpler fields known to mod- 
ern physics and obedient to the same laws. Like the fields of physics, they 
are part of the organisation of the Universe and are influenced by the vast 
forces of space. Like the fields of physics, too, they have organising and 
directing qualities which have been revealed by many thousands of experi- 
ments. Organisation and direction, the direct opposite of chance, imply 
purpose. So the fields of life offer purely electronic, instrumental evidence 
that man is no accident. On the contrary, he is an integral part of the Cos- 
mos, embedded in its all-powerful fields, subject to its inflexible laws and 
a participant in the destiny and purpose of the Universe" — quoted from 
E.F. Schumacher's A guide for the perplexed (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), 
pp. 116-17, and used by permission of the Random House Group Ltd. For 
more information see Burr's Blueprint for immortality: The electric patterns of 
life (London: N. Spearman, 1972). 



8 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

Vernadsky 14 was probably right in asking the question: how 
does the ideal, which is mental, translate the planet Earth 
into its new evolutionary phase? How? If you say: only 
through labour, only through explosions or only through 
technogenic activity, such a primitive answer will not do. 

There is factual evidence showing that Man is capable 
of exerting a remote influence on many electronic equip- 
ment readings. He can throw the measuring device out of 
whack, and that from far away. Here in Novosibirsk exper- 
iments are taking place on telepathic communication with 
Norilsk, Dikson, Simferopol and Tiumen, 15 as well as an 
American centre in Florida, and the remote links between 
Man and Man as well as between the measuring device and 
the operator register accurately and reliably. 

We are confronted with an unknown phenomenon — 
the interaction of living substance over huge distances. 

These articles, unfortunately, contain many unfamiliar 
terms, along with references to works of other scholars. It 
would be quite a task just to read them all, let alone make 
sense of them. 



^Vladimir Tvanovich Vernadsky (1863-1945) — a Russian scientist compared 
to Charles Darwin for his scope of contribution to the biological sciences. 
Vernadsky's prime interest was researching how the human mind influenc- 
es the development of life on the planet. He viewed human intelligence as 
a powerful evolutionary force capable of transforming the whole biosphere 
onto a new level. Vernadsky introduced the term noosphere (literally, 'sphere 
of Intelligence') to refer to the incipient state of biosphere controlled by 
human intelligence — the new evolutionary stage transcending the conflict 
between technology and Nature. 

^Norilsk — one of the most northerly cities in the world, close to the Yeni- 
sei River, and a major mining centre. Dikson — a port in Russia's Far North, 
on the Kara Sea. Simferopol — capital of the Crimea (now part of Ukraine). 
Tinmen — the oldest Russian city in Siberia, founded in 158 1, which long 
served as a centre for the Russian colonisation of Siberia. 



Alien on Man? 9 

Still, I have found out that scientists are aware of Man's 
capability to make contact at a distance. They are aware, too, 
of the universal data bank used by Anastasia. She calls it the 
dimension of the forces of light, home to all thoughts ever pro- 
duced by mankind. Modern science also speaks about this 
phenomenon, which it refers to as a supercomputer. 

I then had to figure out how I, who had never practised any 
literary art, having never been trained for it, managed to write 
a book which continues to excite so many people. 

When I was in the taiga, Anastasia told me: "I shall make 
you a writer. You will write a book, and many people will read 
it. It will have a beneficial influence on the readers." 

Now the book has been written. And one might suppose 
that it was all due to her involvement. But then one would 
have to figure out how she influences other people's creative 
abilities. However, nobody has yet managed to figure this 
out. 

It might make things easier, of course, to pretend that I 
myself possessed at least a little talent and was simply setting 
forth the interesting information I had learnt from her. Then, 
it seems, everything would fall into place. Everything would 
be explained. There would be no need to waste any further 
time on reading scientific or religious literature or badgering 
specialists with questions. And here Anastasia presented a 
new phenomenon for which neither I nor any of the people 
who have been helping me can find an explanation to date. 

You may remember me writing in Book 1 what she said two 
years earlier: 'Artists will paint pictures, poets will write verse 
and they will make a movie about me. You will see all this and 
think of me...." 

To my question "What do you mean, can she predict the 
future?" Anastasia's grandfather replied: "Vladimir, Anastasia 
does not predict the future, she visualises it and turns it into 
reality" 



io Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

Words, just words. Words come cheap. And to be hon- 
est, I didn't pay too much attention to these words, dismiss- 
ing them as mere metaphor, since I had absolutely no way 
of even imagining how accurately everything Anastasia said 
would turn out to be true in real life. But the incredible does 
happen! 

Anastasia's words are starting to come true in reality. 

First there was the flood of poems. A few of these poems I 
published at the end of Book 1. Next, Anastasia clubs started 
springing up in various cities. The first of these was in the 
city of Gelendzhik, where they held an exhibit of paintings by 
the Moscow artist Alexandra Saenko, all dedicated to Anasta- 
sia and Nature. 

I visited the clubhouse and looked at the walls hung with 
large pictures. The surrounding space seemed to change in 
appearance before my gaze. 

From the many pictures Anastasia looked out at me with 
her kindly eyes. And the scenes! I couldn't get over it — 
some of the pictures showed scenes from this second book, 
which hadn't been published yet. And there was this glowing 
sphere, sometimes appearing right next to Anastasia. Later 
I learnt that the artist painted not with a brush but with her 
fingertips. Most of the pictures had already been sold, but 
left hanging for the duration of the exhibit, since more and 
more people were coming to see them. The artist presented 
one of them to me as a gift, depicting Anastasia's mother and 
father. I couldn't take my eyes off her mother's face. 

Offers started coming in from various film studios about 
making an Anastasia movie. And this was now something I 
was already accepting as a matter of course. 

As I touched the paintings and sheets of poetry with my 
hands, as I listened to the songs and looked at stills from a 
film which had already been made, I tried to make some sense 
of what was going on. 



Alien on Man? n 

And now there is a Moscow Research Centre devoted to 
investigating Anastasia phenomena, which has concluded: 

The greatest spiritual teachers known to mankind for their 
religious teachings and philosophical and scientific investi- 
gations, cannot match the fantastic pace of Anastasia's in- 
fluence on the human potential. Their teachings have had 
a noticeable manifestation in real life only centuries and 
millennia after their first appearance. 

In some inexplicable way, over a matter of days and 
months Anastasia has managed, without the aid of written 
doctrines and religious teachings, to directly influence peo- 
ple's feelings, provoking emotional outbursts and causing a 
surge of creativity manifest in artistic creations on the part 
of a whole lot of people who have been mentally touched 
by her. We are able to perceive them in the form of works 
of art and inspired impulses toward goodness and light. 

How is it possible that this lonely recluse, all alone in the 
remote Siberian taiga, has at the same time managed to soar 
over our lives in real time and space? 

How does she bring artistic creations into being through 
other people's hands? They are all about light, about good- 
ness, about Russia, about Nature, about love. 

"She will cover the world with her great poetry of love. Po- 
ems and songs will shower the whole planet like a spring rain 
and wash away its accumulated filth," Anastasia's grandfather 
told me. 

"But how does she do it?" I asked. 

And the answer: 

"She gives off inspiration and illumination by the energy 
of the impulse of her own aspirations, by the strength of her 
dreams." 

"What kind of power is hidden in her dreams?" 



12 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"The power of Man as a Creator." 

"But Man should receive some sort of compensation for 
his creations — honours, money, titles. And here she is giving 
them away and asking nothing in return. Why?" I asked. 

"She is self-sufficient. Her highest rewards are her own 
satisfaction and the sincere love of at least one person," re- 
plied Anastasia's grandfather. 

But so far these answers are not something I've been able 
to make complete sense of. In attempting to grasp who Anas- 
tasia really is and my own relationship to her in particular, I 
have continued to seek out various opinions about her, and 
read as much as I can in the way of religious literature. 

In fact, I've read more over the past year and a half than in 
all the previous years of my life taken together. But what has 
come of it? I have managed to come to only one indisputable 
conclusion: a number of learned' books claiming to be histor- 
ically accurate, religious and sincere, are nothing but a pack 
of lies. This conclusion arose out of a situation connected 
with the historical figure of Gregory Rasputin. 

In Book 1 1 cited a passage from Valentin Pikul's 16 histori- 
cal epic novel Uposlednei cherty (At the last frontier). 

Valentin Savvich Pikid (1928-1990) — one of the most popular Soviet 
prose writers of the 1970s and 1980s. His famous novel, At the last fron- 
tier — published in 1979 in the major literary magazine Nash sovremennik 
as an abridged version of the novel Nechistaya sila (The demonic forces) — 
significantly strengthened the popular image of Rasputin as a corrupted 
immoral debaucher. Pikul's extensive use of documents of the period, in- 
cluding journalistic accounts, to give his works an authentic 'historical' feel, 
contributed to the popular perception of his novels as 'historical chroni- 
cles' (although this is not generally supported by historians and literary crit- 
ics, who tend to dismiss them simply as adventure novels with an historical 
context). In 1981 At the last frontier was made into the 'historical drama' 
movie Agonia (Agony), directed by Elem Klimov (1933-2003), which won 
the prestigious International Federation of Film Critics award at the 1982 
Venice Film Festival and became a must-see cinematic experience through- 
out the USSR. The passage below is quoted from Pikul's At the last frontier. 



Alien on Man? 13 

Pikul's narrative tells about a semi-literate peasant named 
Gregory Rasputin from the remote wilds of Siberia where 
the Siberian cedar grows. In 1907 he came to St. Petersburg, 
then the capital of the Russian empire. He not only endeared 
himself to the imperial family, impressing them with his pre- 
dictions of the future, but ended up sleeping with a good 
many of the most prominent women in the capital. When a 
group of officers tried to kill him, they were amazed to find 
that even after swallowing the cyanide poison slipped into his 
drink, he was still able to get up from the table and make his 
way outdoors, where Prince Yusupov fired shots at him point- 
blank from his pistol. Even after being riddled with bullets, 
Rasputin would not die. His wounded body was thrown off a 
bridge into the river, then fished out and burnt. 

The mysterious and enigmatic Gregory Rasputin, who im- 
pressed everyone with his stamina, grew up amidst the cedars 
of the Siberian taiga. 

This is how a contemporary journalist described his stay- 
ing power: 

'At age fifty he could begin an orgy at noon and go on ca- 
rousing until four o'clock in the morning. From his fornica- 
tion and drunkenness he would go directly to the church for 
morning prayers and stand praying until eight, before heading 
home for a cup of tea. Then, as if nothing had happened, he 
would carry on receiving visitors until two in the afternoon. 
Next he would collect a group of ladies and accompany them 
to the baths. From the baths he would be off to a restaurant 
in the country, where he would begin repeating the previous 
night's activities. No normal person could ever keep up a re- 
gime like that." 

As with many other people, such descriptions also shaped 
my impression of Rasputin as a hopeless debaucher. But fate 
threw my way a different concept, as though trying to induce 
me to reconsider. 



14 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

This is what the Pope of Rome, John Paul II, had to say 
about Rasputin: 

"Today from the river comes unscathed the body (never 
found) of a holy monk. And his secret offspring will enter 
into the ark with prayer." 

What's going on here? On the one hand he's referred to 
as a debaucher, on the other — a holy monk. Where is the 
truth? Where is the lie? 

There's more. The text of some of Rasputin's notes, writ- 
ten during a trip to the Holy Land, happened to fall into my 
hands (they were brought to Paris by a refugee from the USSR 
named Lobachevsky). This is what Rasputin himself wrote: 

The sea effortlessly comforts. When you awake in the 
morning and the waves 'speak' — they dance and make glad. 
And the sunlight glistens on the sea, it seems to rise ever 
so quietly, and at that moment Man's soul forgets all about 
mankind and fixes its gaze on the glow of the sun; and a 
happiness kindles in Man, and he feels in his heart the book 
of life and the higher wisdom of life — indescribable beauty! 
The sea awakens him from the dream of earthly vanities, and 
many thoughts arise all by themselves, quite effortlessly 

The sea is a vast space, but the mind is even more spa- 
cious. There is no end to Man's higher wisdom, no philoso- 
phy can possibly contain it. Another moment of stupen- 
dous beauty comes when the sun sets over the sea and its 
rays fill the western sky 

Who can estimate the beauty of the sun's twilight rays? 
They warm and caress the soul and offer healing com- 
fort. The sun disappears behind the mountains minute 
by minute, and Man's heart grieves a little at its amazing 
twilight rays. And then it grows dark. 

And oh, what silence falls! Not even the sound of a bird 
is heard. Lost in thought, Man begins to pace the deck of 



Alien on Man? 15 

the ship, involuntarily recalls his childhood and all of life's 
kerfuffle, and begins to compare the silence around him 
with the bustle of the world, and quietly talks with himself, 
desiring company to stave off the tedium inflicted upon 
him by his enemies... 

So, who were you, you Sibiriak? 11 A Russian named Gre- 
gory Rasputin? Where is the truth written about you, and 
where the lie? How to make sense of it all? What can one rely 
upon in trying to fathom the essence of one's being, one's des- 
tiny? What great works can help one discern between truth 
and falsehood? Where is the spiritual and sincere, as opposed 
to a mere pretence of omniscience? Perhaps one should try 
probing one's own heart? I have never written poetry before, 
but I want to dedicate my very first poem to you, Gregory 
Rasputin. 

People read Anastasia and come up with sincere, original 
poetry I have tried, too. And this is the result — for you. My 
apologies if the rhyme doesn't always work out. 

Dedicated to 
Gregory Rasputin 

"So you're semi-literate?" "Why yes, semi-literate. 
From the cedar forests — well, those are my roots!" 
'And barefoot?!" "Walking all the way from Siberia, 
You're bound to wear out more than one pair of boots! 

"I am going to the Tsar, to help our dear Batiushka 18 
Hold on just a little bit longer out there. 

^Sibiriak — the Russian word denoting a resident of Siberia. 

18 
Batiushka (pronounced BAH-tioosh-ka, lit., 'Father') — an affectionate 

name used (especially by Russian peasants) in reference to the Tsar. 



16 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

I am going to our Russia, our dear Russia-Matushka 19 
To give her a taste of our pine-forest air! 

"What about it, hussars? You dashing rogues, freely 
Debauching the ladies, making bold in a brawl? 
Just look at me, look, and see how one really 
Debauches — you scum, thinking you know it all!" 

Peter's city in fine Paris garb is assembling. 

But watch, lest your corsets too tight squeeze your hearts! 

The Sibiriak enters, and ladies are trembling 

At the sight of this peasant from far eastern parts. 

But as he went off to the morning-prayer service, 
For others' redemption from error to pray, 
He heard his land calling — She spoke in a whisper, 
The only one telling him this: "Go away! 

"The flesh-eating age of the beast is upon us, 
All drunken and growling, it leads men astray 
While your fiery soul has been keeping it from us, 
It can no longer do so. You must go away 

"You can't hold the savagery back for much longer. 
Just a moment, that's all you will last — it's too strong. 
I am Russia! Ydu cannot imagine my sorrow! 
I know now: you never will finish your song. 

"Go back to your cedars. My rebounding is certain! 
And then you may ask whatsoever you will..." 



l<) Russia-Matushka (pronounced in Russian: Ras-SI-ya MA-toosb-ka) — an 
endearing term signifying 'Mother Russia'. 



Alien on Man? 17 

"Oh how I'd love us to go to the banya! zo 

I'd beat you with besoms of birch, even pine, 

My profligate Russia — for you I am longing! 

I shall stay with you, Russia, for ever — you're mine!" 

The age of dark madness with fury came howling: 
Grishka 21 stumbled, his breast fall of bullets that day 
While the blackness stood mocking, its dark visage scowling, 
Saying "Crawl, you Sibiriak! Go on, crawl away! 

"You can hold me back only a half-second longer, 
And then from the depths of my pit you'll be shown 
A punishment frightful, more painful and stronger 
Than ever the world in its history has known! 

'A hero you are, but you'll be called a blasphemer. 
From bottles of poison 22 your image will peek. 
And the scions you save will curse you as a schemer 
And spit on your soul, you Siberian muzhik. 23 

"Crawl away It is I who now have all the power! 
Fly away, if you like, to your heaven on high! 
But a moment is left, see? Not a day, not an hour. 
So give me my moment! You're still going to die." 

banya — Russian baths or a bath-house, similar to a Finnish sauna, where 
boiling water is poured over hot stones to increase the temperature and bath- 
ers beat each other with birch besoms (brooms made of twigs tied around a 
stick) to stimulate blood circulation. Braver participants sometimes prefer 
besoms made of sharp-needled conifers (e.g., pine) instead of birch. 

Grishka — a diminutive form of the Russian name Grigory (Gregory). 

bottles of poison — referring to the Rasputin brand of vodka, popular all over 
Russia, with a picture of Rasputin's face on the label. 

^muzhik (pronounced moo-ZHIK) — a Russian word for a peasant, espe- 
cially one who lacks the refinement of an urban dweller. 



18 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Bring on the Madeira, let's head for the banya! 
And there I shall show you what's real and what's crass. 
A Sibiriak, you say? I'm a down-to-earth peasant! 
So what's all the babble and gab about, ass?" 

His body was shot through and drowned in the river, 
Then burnt in a courtyard midst rubble and sand. 
Today as spring winds blow their way over Russia, 
They carry his ashes across the whole land. 

"Well, muzhik," said the blackness, still standing there mocking, 
"Where on earth is your tombstone, and where are your eyes? 
You can never bring back now the days of your living, 
And your scions will see but an image despised. 

"Show them the debt they owe! I give you power! 
Show them the bills for your service unpaid, 
Or is it your wish just to weep and to cower?" 

Grishka spit a lead bullet: "You, Satan, are foolish! 
As if I could care about either weeping or loans? 
Come now, my muzhiks — how's the banya, dear fellows? 
Time for more boiling water to be poured on the stones?!" 



Gregory Rasputin from the cedar forests of Siberia stepped 
into the life of pre-revolutionary Russia in an attempt to head 
off the storm of revolution, and perished. 

Anastasia also lives amongst the cedars and is also trying to 
do good for people, also trying to head off something before 
it happens. But what fate has our society prepared for her? 



Chapter Two 



A money-making machine 



During my first days of talking with Anastasia I saw her as 
a recluse with her own unique way of looking at the world. 
Now, after all that I have heard and read about her, after all 
her subsequent penetrations into our lives, she has become 
a kind of an anomaly My head has started to swirl in confu- 
sion. It is with great effort that I am trying to let go of the 
incoming tide of information and conclusions and get back 
to the simplicity of my first impressions. And to answer the 
oft-repeated question: "Why didn't you bring Anastasia out 
of the taiga?" 

I wanted very much to bring Anastasia out of the taiga. 
But I realised it couldn't be done by force. I needed to try and 
show her how useful and appropriate her stay in our society 
would be. I reflected on which of her abilities could be used 
by people — and my business in particular — with benefit ac- 
cruing to her as well. And suddenly I realised something: this 
Anastasia standing before me would be a real money-making 
machine! 

For one thing she is easily capable of healing people from 
any disease. And she does this without making any kind of 
diagnosis, but simply chasing out of the body any pains and 
sores that have invaded it. And she doesn't even have to 
touch the body I experienced this for myself. She becomes 
utterly concentrated, looking out with her kind, unblinking 
bluish-grey eyes. And the body seems to warm up from her 
look, and even one's feet begin to perspire. All sorts of toxins 
escape through the perspiration. 



20 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

People pay big money for medicines and operations. If one 
doctor can't help, they go to another, or go to psychics, or bio- 
energy therapists, just to get cured of a single disease, some- 
times spending weeks or months or even years in their search 
for a cure, while Anastasia's method takes but a few minutes. 
I calculated that if she spends even fifteen minutes on one 
patient and charges just two hundred fifty thousand roubles 
for that (although many healers charge a good deal more), 
that would make one million roubles an hour. But that's by 
no means the limit. Operations, for example, can cost up to 
thirty million roubles. 1 

It seemed as though a sound business plan was taking 
shape in my head. I decided to work out some details and 
asked Anastasia: 

"So, that means you can rid a person's body of any and 
all ills?" 

"Yes," replied Anastasia. "I think I could eliminate any 
and all." 

"How much time do you need to spend on a single patient?" 

"Sometimes quite a lot." 

'A lot — that's how long?" 

"Once it took me more than ten minutes." 

"Ten minutes — that's nothing. Some people take years to 
get better." 

"Ten minutes is a long time, considering the fact that I have 
to concentrate, as it were, and decrease my sense of conscious 
awareness." 

"That's not a problem, conscious awareness can wait. Ifou 
know so much as it is. I've thought of something, Anastasia." 



two hundred fifty thousand, one million, thirty million roubles — equivalent 
to approx. US$50, 200 and 6,000 respectively at the June 1995 exchange 
rate. With an average Russian's monthly income of under $100 at the time, 
those figures were truly astronomical. 



A money-making machine 21 

"What have you thought of?" 

"I'll take you with me. In a big city we'll hire a decent office 
for you, I'll advertise and you can treat people. You'll be of a 
great help to all sorts of people, and we'll have a right good 
income." 

"But I sometimes treat people right now as it is. When I 
visualise various situations with the dachniks, to help them un- 
derstand the world of plants around them, my Ray also elimi- 
nates their diseases, only I try not to eliminate ^//diseases..." 

"But they don't even know that you're the one that's doing 
it, they don't pay you any money for it, or even say 'thank you'! 
You don't get anything for your labours?!" 

"I do." 

"What?" 

"I feel happy." 

"Well, that's fine then. You can be happy, and delighted, 
and the business will have an income as well." 

"But what if somebody does not have any money to pay for 
treatment?" she enquired. 

"Now why are you jumping into trifling matters like that? 
Y^u don't have to think about that. You'll have secretaries, 
and an administrator. All you need think about is treating 
people, perfecting yourself and attending seminars to share 
your experience and exchange ideas with other healers. Do 
you know yourself how your method works, your Ray, and 
what the underlying principle is?" 

"Yes, I know. And this method is known in your world too. 
Doctors and career scientists know about it. Or at least they 
feel its beneficial effect. In hospitals they try to talk with 
their patients cheerfully, so as to uplift their spirits. Doctors 
have long noticed that if someone is in a state of depression, 
it is difficult to cure their disease, and medicines do not help, 
while if you treat a patient with love, the disease will go away 
more quickly." 



22 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"So why has nobody tried learning this method and devel- 
oping it to the degree you have?" 

"Many scientists are trying to learn it. And many people 
you call folk healers also use this method, and they are having 
some success. This is the same method Christ Jesus healed 
by, as well as the saints. Much is said about love in the Bible, 
because this feeling has a beneficial influence on Man. It is 
the strongest feeling of all." 

"Why do healers and doctors have so little success, and you 
have so much?" 

"Because they live in your world, and they, just like every- 
one else in that world, have taken in harmful feelings." 

"What kind of harmful feelings, and what do they have to 
do with it?" 

"Harmful feelings, Vladimir, are anger, hatred, irritation, 
jealousy, envy... and others. They and other similar feelings 
make Man weaker." 

"You mean to say, Anastasia, that you hardly ever get an- 

gry?" 

"I never get angry" 

'All right, Anastasia. It's not important how this effect 
comes about, it's the final result that's important, and what 
benefit can be derived from it. Tell me, would you agree to go 
with me and get involved in treating people?" 

"Vladimir, you see, my home is here — this is my moth- 
erland, the place where I belong. It is only by staying here 
that I can fulfil my purpose. Nothing gives Man greater 
strength than his motherland, the Space of Love created by 
his parents. Treating people, delivering them from physical 
ailments — I can do that right here from a distance, with the 
help of my Ray" 

"Well, all right. If you don't want to travel, you can do your 
treating from a distance. You and I can set up an arrangement 
as to where those wishing treatment can come. They will pay 



A money -making machine 23 

their money, and you will heal them at a specific time. We'll 
draw up a schedule. Would you agree to that?" 

"Vladimir, I know you want to make a lot of money. You 
shall have it. I shall help you. Only that is not the way to do 
it. In your world people charge for treatment — there is no 
other way in your world. But I would rather do that without 
any question of money. Besides, I cannot treat everybody in- 
discriminately, since I have not fully realised in which cases 
healing will be helpful, and in which ones harmful. But I shall 
try to become aware of this and understand. And as soon as 
I can decipher — " 

"What drivel is that?" I broke in. "How can healing or 
treating a person be harmful? Or do you mean harmful to 
yourself?" 

"Healing of physical ailments can often bring harm to the 
one healed." 

"It seems, Anastasia, your sophistications have given you a 
somewhat inverted concept of good and evil. Doctors have 
always been held in high regard by society, even though they 
have not performed their services free of charge. And, since 
you cite the Bible so much, you'll find that is not forbidden 
even there. So cast those doubts out of your head. Curing 
someone is always a good thing!" 

"%u see, Vladimir, I know this from experience. My 
grandfather showed me an example of the harm that healing 
can bring when it is not thought through, when the patient 
himself does not participate in the healing." 

"What kind of strange philosophy you have here! I offer 
you a joint business venture. What have such examples got 
to do with it?" 



Chapter Three 



Healing for hell 



"One day I saw with my Ray a lonely old woman working on 
her garden plot," Anastasia began. "She was spritely, slim and 
always cheerful. She caught my interest right away She had a 
very small plot, and a lot of different things growing in it, and 
they grew very well, because she tended them with love. 

"Then I learnt that the old woman would put everything 
she grew into a basket and take it into town and sell it. She 
tried not to eat the early fruits of her labours, but sell them 
when they would still fetch a high price. She needed the 
money to help her son. She had given birth to him late in 
life, and soon afterward she was left without a husband. Her 
relatives never communicated with her. Her son liked to 
draw as a child, and she had dreams that he would become 
an artist. 

"Several times he tried to get in some place where he could 
pursue his studies. Finally he made it. And once or twice a 
year he would come to visit his elderly mother. These visits 
were the highlight of her life, and each time she would save up 
her money and prepare a whole supply of food for him. As the 
time for his visit approached, she would pack vegetables into 
glass jars, put their lids on tight and give the whole supply to 
him when he arrived. 

"She loved him very much, and kept dreaming about her 
son becoming a top-notch artist. She lived on that dream. 
The woman was kind and cheerful. 

"Then for a while I did not watch her. The next time I saw 
her she was very ill. She had a hard time bending over to work 



Healing for hell 25 

on her plantings — each time she bent over, a sharp pain ran 
right through her body. 

"But she proved to be very resourceful. She made her beds 
long and narrow. Each time she went out to her plot she would 
take with her the seat from an old stool (minus the legs) and 
use it to sit on while she did her weeding, and that way she 
was able to move around the whole plot without having to 
bend over. She dragged the basket along on a string. And she 
was looking forward to a good harvest. 

"It really looked as though the harvest that year would be 
quite plentiful, since the plants felt her state of mind and react- 
ed accordingly The woman sensed that she would soon pass on, 
and to make things easier for her son, before she died she bought 
a coffin and a wreath and made all the funeral preparations. 

"But she still wanted to bring in one last harvest, and pre- 
pare the winter's food supply for her son before she died. I 
did not pay much attention then to why she was still sick even 
after such close contact with the plants. I thought perhaps it 
was because she herself ate almost nothing from her plot. She 
sold what she grew and then used the money to buy things she 
needed on the cheap. 

"I decided to help her, and one night when she lay down to 
sleep I began warming her with my Ray, removing the pains 
from her body. I could feel some kind of resistance to the 
Ray, but I still kept on trying. I did this for about ten minutes 
until I succeeded in healing her flesh. 

"Then, when Grandfather came, I told him about the old 
woman. And I asked him why the Ray had met some resist- 
ance. He thought about it, and then told me I had done the 
wrong thing. It made me very distraught. 

"I began asking Grandfather to explain why At first he did 
not say a word. Then he said, 'You healed the body.'" 

I was amazed. "What harm could you have possibly 
brought to the woman's soul?" I asked. 



26 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

Anastasia sighed and went on: 

"The woman's health got better and she did not die. Her 
son came to see her earlier than usual. This time he came 
only for two days and told his mother he had quit his studies 
and did not want to be an artist any more. He was now in- 
volved in some other work that brought in more money. He 
had got married. Now he would have a lot of money And he 
no longer wanted her to prepare 'those insipid food jars' for 
him, since transporting them would now cost more. 

'"Ifou can eat better yourself, now, Mother,' he said. 

"He left without taking anything. That morning the wom- 
an sat on her porch, looked at her plot, and her eyes were filled 
with such emptiness and depression — they looked as though 
she did not want to live. You see, her body was healthy, but it 
was as if there were no life left in it. I saw, or rather felt, the 
terrible emptiness and hopelessness in her heart. 

"If I had not cured her body, the woman would have died at 
the right time, she would have died peacefully with her beau- 
tiful dream and hope intact. Now here she was, still alive, but 
in great despair, and this was many times more frightening 
than physical death. 

"Two weeks later she passed on." 



Chapter Four 



A confidential conversation 



"I realised," Anastasia continued, "that physical disease is 
nothing compared with mental torments, but at the time I 
was not yet able to treat the soul. I wanted to know how I 
could do this or even if I could do it at all. Now I know — it 
is possible! 

'And I found out something else — that physical diseases 
appear in Man not just as a result of his self-withdrawal from 
Nature around him, and not just as a result of the dark feelings 
which he allows himself to take in. They (the diseases) can 
also be a means of warding off or even deliverance from con- 
siderably greater torments. Diseases are one of the devices or 
means of communication between the Supreme Intelligence 
(God) and Man. Man's pain is His pain, too. But it could not 
be otherwise. How else could you get the message, for ex- 
ample: 'Do not keep throwing into your stomach all sorts of 
harmful stuff You tend not to listen to words of reason, after 
all. That's why the message comes through pain. But instead 
you swallow pain-killers and go back to stubbornly doing your 
own thing." 

"So," I countered, "it follows then, in your opinion, that 
there's no need to treat people at all? No need to help them 
with their ailments?" 

"Help there should be, but first of all to gain a proper un- 
derstanding of the origins of the disease. 

"Man needs help in discerning what the Supreme Intelli- 
gence, God, desires to say to him. But that is a most difficult 
task. One can make mistakes. Pain, after all, is a confidential 



28 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

conversation between two beings who know about each oth- 
er. Interference from a third party often harms Man instead 
of helping him." 

"Well, why then did you rid me of my diseases?" I asked 
Anastasia. "Does that mean you've harmed me in some 
way?" 

'All your diseases will come back to you if you do not 
change your lifestyle, your attitude to things around you 
and to yourself. If you do not change some of your habits. 
They are the causes of your diseases. I have done no harm 
to your soul." 

It became clear to me that it would be impossible to per- 
suade Anastasia to make money out of using her healing abili- 
ties until she had sorted things out for herself. My business 
plan had fallen apart. Anastasia must have noticed my irrita- 
tion, for she said: 

"Do not be upset, Vladimir. I shall try to grasp everything 
as quickly as possible. And now, if you really want to help 
others and yourself and not just make money, I shall tell you 
about the means by which Man can cure himself from many 
diseases without undesirable side-effects, as might happen 
when outsiders try to interfere in his destiny If indeed you 
want to listen to this..." 

"What choice do I have? I'm not going to change your 
mind, in any case. Tell me." 

"There are several main causes underlying the diseases of 
the human flesh, namely: harmful feelings, emotions, an arti- 
ficial dietary regime — an unnatural meal schedule and food 
composition, the lack of short-term and long-term goals, and 
a misapprehension of one's essence and purpose in life. Posi- 
tive emotions, a variety of plants and a reappraisal of one's 
essence and purpose in life — all these are capable not only 
of counteracting diseases but also of significantly enhancing 
one's physical and mental or emotional state. 



A confidential conversation 29 

'As far as bringing back — under the conditions of your 
world — Man's lost connection with plants, I have already 
told you about that. After Man has established a direct per- 
sonal contact with these plants, it is much easier to make 
sense of everything else. 

"The Ray of Love, too, is capable of curing many diseases 
of one's fellow-Man and even prolonging his life by creating 
around him a Space of Love. 

"But Man himself, once he has managed to arouse positive 
emotions in himself, can use them to extinguish pain and cure 
the diseases of the flesh — even the effects of poison." 

"What does that mean — 'arousing positive emotions'?" 
I queried. "How can one think good thoughts if one has a 
toothache or a stomach-ache?" 

"Pure, clear moments of life, positive emotions, like guard- 
ian angels, will overcome pain and disease." 

"But what if someone doesn't have enough pure and clear 
moments to arouse the positive healing emotions — what 
should he do then?" 

"He should create at once something to make them appear. 
They appear when people around you treat you with genuine 
Love. So you must create a situation along those lines, create 
it by your actions in respect to those around you, otherwise 
your guardian angel will not be able to help you." 

"I wonder whether I have ever had them myself, and if so, 
how strong they were. How does one call them forth?" 

"This can be done through reminiscing. For example, let 
us recall something good, something pleasant from your past. 
With the help of that image try to feel the soft and pleasing 
state of mind you experienced back then. Do you want to try 
it now? I shall help you. Try it." 

'All right, let's give it a try." 

"Please, lie down on the grass and relax. You can remem- 
ber starting from this point in your life right now going back 



30 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

into the past. Or you can start with your childhood and pro- 
ceed up to the present day. Or you can jump at once to the 
most pleasant moments and feel the sensations connected 
with them." 

I lay down on the grass. Anastasia lay down beside me and 
pressed her fingers against mine. I thought her proximity 
might prevent me from concentrating on my reminiscences, 
and I said: 

"Perhaps I'd better be alone." 

"I shall be very quiet. When you start remembering, you 
will forget about me. And you will not feel the touch of my 
hand. But I can help you remember everything more quickly 
and vividly" 



Chapter Five 



iere are you, 
my guardian angel? 

The chronicle of my life-story took me back to my child- 
hood. My reminiscences continued up to the point where I 
was playing in the sand with the country kids, and then broke 
off. At that moment my soul was overwhelmed with an inex- 
plicable sense of alarm. Not a single event in my whole life 
aroused positive emotions or feelings comparable to those I 
experienced that morning after spending the night with Anas- 
tasia. Or with those that arose in me after she brought the 
rhythms of surrounding Nature in tune with the beating of 
my heart (I described this experience in the chapter "Touch- 
ing Paradise"). But I considered these marvellous feelings to 
be something created in me by Anastasia — they weren't my 
own. They were artificial, a gift from Anastasia. Involuntari- 
ly, I compared them with those of my previous life, and found 
no analogy whatsoever. 

Again and again I hunted down recollections of my life, as 
though running a movie reel, backward and forward. Every- 
thing I saw was related to my efforts to get or achieve some- 
thing. Sure, I got what I wanted, one thing after another, but 
there was no great feeling of satisfaction. Instead, some new 
desire merely appeared. And the most recent years of my life, 
when those around me thought how splendidly everything 
was turning out for me, aroused an even greater feeling of 
confusion and chaos. The cars I had acquired, the women, 
the banquets, the gifts and congratulations I had received — 
all seemed empty and pointless. 



32 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

I quickly got to my feet and said, with some irritation, ei- 
ther to myself or to Anastasia: 

"There are none of these healing sensations in Man's life! 
At least, not in mine. And I would say there are many lives 
where they can't be found." 

Anastasia also rose to her feet and calmly observed: 

"Then you should create them as quickly as possible." 

"What do I need to create? Tell me, what?" 

"First you must understand what holds the greatest mean- 
ing, or significance, for you. You have just been looking over 
your past life. But even with the opportunity to analyse it, 
to look at it objectively, as it were, you still were not able to 
notice what was really significant. You kept latching on to the 
usual values, as you saw them. Tell me the situations where 
you felt you came closest to a sense of happiness." 

"There were two situations, but each time something pre- 
vented me from feeling truly happy in them." 

"What kind of situations?" 

"Back in the early days of perestroika 1 1 managed to acquire 
a long-term lease on a steamship. This was the best passen- 
ger ship in the Western Siberian river fleet — the Mikhail Ka- 
linin. 

'After the lease agreement was drawn up, I went to the har- 
bour and there she stood. What a beauty! I remember the 
first time I stood on the deck of my very own ship." 

'And did your feelings of happiness greatly increase when 
you stood on the deck?" 

"Ydu know, Anastasia, our lives are filled with all sorts of 
problems. As soon as I had climbed aboard, I was met by the 



perestroika — the policy of restructuring the economic and political system 
of the Soviet Union, initiated by Gorbachev in 1985, which eventually led 
to the collapse of communism and the break-up of the USSR in the early 
1990s. 



Where are you, my guardian angel? 33 

captain. We went to his cabin and had a bottle of champagne 
together. During our conversation the captain advised that 
all the water pipes needed cleaning at once, or the health au- 
thorities would not allow us to set sail. And there were other 
things he told me..." 

'And so, Vladimir, you immersed yourself in all the prob- 
lems and cares involved in the running of the ship." 

"Yes, that's right. There were a lot of them." 

"It is inherent in the nature of artificially created matter 
and various mechanical devices, Vladimir, that they bring 
more problems than pleasures. Their benefit to Man is quite 
illusory" 

"Well, I don't happen to agree. Maybe in themselves 
these mechanical devices have problems — they need con- 
stant repair and maintenance. Still, they help us get a lot of 
things." 

"What, for example?" 

"Even love." 

"Genuine Love, Vladimir, could not possibly be under the 
control of artificially created objects. Even if you owned all 
the objects in the world, you would not be able, just with their 
help, to gain access to the true Love of even one woman." 

"Well, you simply don't know our women. You're spinning 
theories, that's all. I managed to get it." 

"What did you manage to get?" 

"Love. I quite simply succeeded. There was one woman I 
loved a great deal. I loved her for many years. But she didn't 
really want to go off with me anywhere alone. When I got 
my ship, however, I invited her aboard, and she accepted. 
Can you imagine how great that was?! Here we were sitting 
alone at the ship's bar. There was champagne, first-class wine, 
candlelight, music — and nobody else around. Here we were 
alone in the empty bar on my ship. She was the only one there 
with me. 



34 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"I had the ship set sail without taking on any other pas- 
sengers, just so we could be alone. The ship proceeded down 
the river. There was music playing in the bar. I invited her 
to dance. Her figure was fantastic, especially her breasts. I 
hugged her tight, my heart was pounding for joy, and I kissed 
her on the lips! 

"She didn't run away, she even hugged me back. Do you 
see? There she was right beside me, and I could touch her, 
and kiss her. All this was because of the ship, and you say it 
can only bring problems." 

'And then, Vladimir, what happened?" 

"Nothing much." 

"Please try to remember, anyway." 

"I tell you, it was nothing important." 

"Can / tell you what happened there, on the ship, between 
you and that young woman?" 

"You can try." 

"You had a lot to drink. You made a deliberate effort to 
drink as much as possible. Then you put the keys to your cab- 
in — your luxury apartment — on the table in front of her, 
and you yourself went down to the lower decks. You slept al- 
most twenty-four hours in the cramped crew's quarters. And 
do you know why?" 

"Why?" 

"The moment came when you noticed a strange expression 
on the face of that beloved young woman of yours — a pre- 
occupied smile. Intuitively, even subconsciously, you realised 
that she, your beloved, was thinking how happy she would be 
if only it were her own beloved that was sitting across from her 
in this bar, instead of Megre. Y?ur precious girl was dreaming 
of someone else, someone she really liked. She fantasised that 
it was he, and not you, who was master of the ship. You were 
at the mercy of inert matter, to which you had tied your living 
feelings and aspirations, and were choking them to death." 



Where are you, my guardian angel? 35 

"Don't go on, Anastasia!" I pleaded. "These recollections 
aren't happy ones for me. In any case, the ship did play its 
role. It was thanks to the ship that you and I met." 

"The happenings of the present are the result of previous 
feelings and impulses of the soul, and it is only they that de- 
termine the future. And it is only their momentum, only the 
beating of their wings, that is clearly reflected in the heavenly 
mirrors. And only their impulses and aspirations will be re- 
flected in happenings here on the Earth." 

"What do you mean by that?" I asked in some bewilder- 
ment. 

"Our meeting may well be the culmination of many aspira- 
tions of the soul on both your part and mine — perhaps on the 
part of our immediate or even more distant forebears. Per- 
haps it came from a single impulse of the cherry tree growing 
in the garden of your country home. Only not the ship." 

"What has the cherry tree in my garden got to do with it?" 

"In all your many glances back at your life, you failed to pay 
any attention to this cherry tree and your feelings connected 
with it, yet those feelings have played a leading role in your 
life in recent years. The Universe did not react to your ship. 
Just think, what could a primitive, run-down material device, 
incapable of either thinking or restoring itself, possibly mean 
to the Universe? 

"But the cherry tree... a little Siberian cherry tree, which 
you could not even make room for in your recollections, ex- 
cited the cosmic expanses and changed the course of time 
and history — and not only yours and mine. Because it is a 
living being, and, like all living beings, has an inseparable con- 
nection with creation as a whole." 



Chapter Six 



"Remember, Vladimir, everything within you associated with 
this little tree. Remember, starting right from the moment 
you first made contact with it." 

"I shall try to remember, if you think it's important." 

"Yes, it is important." 

"I was riding in my car, I don't remember where I was go- 
ing. We stopped near the Central Market. I asked my driver 
to get out and buy some fruit. I stayed in the car and watched 
people leaving the market carrying all sorts of saplings." 

"You watched them and were surprised. Why?" 

"You see, their faces were happy and contented. Even 
though it was cold and rainy out, here they were hauling away 
some kind of saplings with their roots all bound in cloth. 
These saplings were heavy to carry, but the people's faces were 
content, and here I was sitting in my warm car and I was sad. 

"When the driver returned, I got out and went over to the 
market myself. I kept walking up and down past the mer- 
chants' stalls and bought three cherry saplings. As I was toss- 
ing them into the baggage compartment, the driver said that 
one of the saplings wouldn't survive, since its roots had been 
cut too short, and I'd better throw it out right off, but I de- 
cided to keep it. It was the most graceful of the three. Then 
I went and planted the saplings in the garden of my country 
home. 

"I threw in extra topsoil around the tree with the short 
roots, and a sprinkling of peat moss, along with a bit of fer- 
tiliser." 



The cherry tree 37 

"In trying to help it, you burnt two more little roots of the 
sapling with the fertiliser," Anastasia added. 

"But it survived! In the spring, when the buds started 
coming out on the trees, its branches came to life, too. Lit- 
tle leaves began to appear. Then I set out on my commercial 
expedition." 

"But before that," Anastasia observed, "every day for a pe- 
riod of more than two months you would drive out to your 
country house and the first thing you did was go and see 
how the little tree was getting on. Sometimes you stroked 
its branches. You were so happy to see the leaves, and kept 
watering the tree. You drove a stake into the ground and 
fastened the trunk to it with twine all around so the wind 
wouldn't break it. 

"Tell me, Vladimir, do you think that plants react to people's 
attitude toward them? Do you think they feel good and bad 
thoughts?" 

"I've heard, or read, somewhere that house-plants and 
flowers do react that way They can even become all withered 
when their care-giver goes away I've heard about scientific 
experiments where they attached sensors to various plants, 
and the needles jumped one way when the plants were ap- 
proached aggressively, and the other way when someone ap- 
proached them with thoughts of gentleness and kindness." 

"So, Vladimir, you know about plants reacting to the ex- 
pression of human feelings. And, according to the Grand 
Creator's design, they strive to do all within their power, all 
that they can, to meet Man's needs — they bring forth fruit, 
and try to arouse positive emotions in Man with their flowers 
beautiful and fair — indeed, they put oxygen into the air so 
that we can breathe. 

"But plants have been granted yet another function which 
is no less important. Plants which come into direct contact 
with an individual Man create for him a Space of true Love. The 



38 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

kind of Love without which life for the human race would be 
impossible. 

"Many dachniks are in a hurry to get out to their plots be- 
cause it is there that such a Space has been created for them. 
And this little Siberian cherry tree you thought to plant, the 
one you cared for yourself, it tried to do the same as all other 
plants and perform its assigned function. 

"If there are a lot of them, plants can create for Man a sig- 
nificant Space of Love — if they are of different varieties and 
Man communicates with them, and approaches them with 
Love. All together plants can create for Man a significant 
Space of Love which enhances the soul and makes the body 
whole. 

"You see, Vladimir — all together, when there are a lot of 
them. But you looked after just one sapling. And so this one 
little Siberian cherry tree began aspiring to do what only a 
number of plants acting together can do. 

"Its aspiration was aroused by your special relation to it. It 
was something you yourself realised only intuitively — in all 
your surroundings only this one little tree was not asking any- 
thing of you, it was not being hypocritical, it only aspired to 
give of itself — and then you came along. You were tired after 
a busy day. You went over to the tree, stood and pondered. 
You looked at it, and it responded. 

"Before the first ray of dawn appeared in its perfection, 
the leaves of the tree tried to catch that ray's reflection in the 
brightening sky. And when the Sun went down afar, it tried 
using the light of a bright star. And as it persisted, something 
transpired by and by, just a wee bit of something transpired. 

"Its roots, twisting themselves around the burning ferti- 
liser, were able to take in what they required from the Earth. 
And the Earth's juices began turning and running through 
the veins of the tree a little more quickly than usual. And 
then one day, in an early morning hour, you came and saw the 



The cherry tree 39 

little flowers to which the tree's delicate branches had given 
birth. The other saplings were devoid of flowers, but this 
one, thanks to your gift of caring, had already blossomed. 
You were overjoyed. Your spirits were uplifted and then... 
do you remember what you did, Vladimir, after seeing the 
flowers?" 

"I really was overjoyed. For some reason my mood was on 
a high, I felt a lightness in my head. I went and stroked its 
branches with my hands." 

"You gently stroked its branches. And you said, 'Well now, 
my beauty, you've blossomed!' 

"You see the trees, Vladimir, and you see the leaves, and 
the fruit borne thereof. But more than that, the trees create 
a Space of Love. The little cherry tree very much wanted you 
to have this Space. But where was the place for the tree to 
find the strength to give back to Man what it had received 
from him? It had tried and tried and had already given eve- 
rything that was in its power, but it had received something 
extraordinary besides — a showing of tenderness toward it- 
self and the flowers it bore. And then it had the desire to do 
more! All by itself! 

"You went off on your very long expedition. And then, com- 
pleting your journey and returning, the first thing you did was 
go to the garden plot to see your little cherry tree. But along 
the way you were eating cherries you had bought at the mar- 
ket. As you approached it, you noticed that there were three 
red cherries growing on your tree. You stood there beside it, 
all tired out, eating the bought cherries and spitting out the 
stones. Then you tore one of the cherries off your tree and 
tried it. Indeed, it was just a little bit more sour, a little less 
sweet than the market cherries you had decided to eat, and 
you did not touch the other two." 

"I had had my fill of the other cherries. And this one was 
indeed more sour." 



40 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Oh, if only you had known, Vladimir, how much pow- 
er those little cherries contained on their own that was so 
beneficial to you! How much energy and Love! From the 
depths of the Earth and the expanses of the Universe and 
more, the tree had gathered everything helpful for you and 
poured it into these three cherries. It had even let one of its 
branches wither in order to make these three cherries ripen. 
One of them you tried, but you left the other two on the tree 
to die." 

"I had no idea. But still, I was happy that it was capable of 
bearing fruit." 

"Yes, you were happy. And then... do you remember what 
you did this time?" 

"Me? Well, I stroked the tree's branches some more." 

'And you not only stroked them. You even bent over and 
kissed the leaves on the branch which was resting on the palm 
of your hand." 

"Yes, I did. Because I was in such a good mood." 

'And something incredible happened with the tree. What 
more could it do for you, since you had not taken the fruit 
thereof that had been grown with so much Love? What could 
it do? 

"It trembled from the kiss of Man, and the thought and feel- 
ings inherent only in Man but produced by this little Siberian 
cherry tree took flight into the Universe's space of light — to 
give back to Man what it had received from him. To give back 
to Man its kiss of Love, to warm him with this — the bright 
feelings, the Space of Love. And against all laws that thought 
swept across the Universe but could not find a resting-place, a 
means of manifesting the breath — the life — of itself. 

"Knowing that one cannot find a resting-place means 
death. 

"Then the forces of light returned to the cherry tree the 
bright thought it had produced, so that it might destroy the 



The cherry tree 41 

thought within itself and not perish. But the tree did not 
pick it up! 

"The little Siberian cherry tree's burning desire endured 
unchanged, extraordinarily pure and trembling. 

"The forces of light did not know what to do. The Grand 
Creator was not about to change the established laws of har- 
mony for you. But the cherry tree did not perish. It managed 
to endure because the thought, aspiration and feelings there- 
of were extraordinarily pure, and by the laws that constitute 
creation as a whole nothing can destroy pure Love. And it 
circled over your soul and dreamt of finding a resting-place, a 
place to thrive. Alone in the Universe, it was striving, aspiring 
to create for you a Space of Love. 

"I came to your ship to at least try to be of some help and 
fulfil the cherry tree's desire to find this resting-place, to 
manifest its love. Even though I did not know to whom it 
was addressed." 

Anastasia paused. 

"You mean to say," I queried, "that your relationship to me 
arose out of your desire to help the tree?" 

"My relationship to you, Vladimir, is simply that: my rela- 
tionship. It is difficult to say who was helping whom here — 
the cherry tree me or I the tree. Everything in the Universe 
is interrelated. To perceive what is really going on in the 
Universe one need only look into one's self. But now, by your 
leave, I am giving an embodiment to this, to what the cherry 
tree desired. May I give you a kiss from the tree?" 

"Of course you may. Since it's the right thing to do. And 
when I get home, I shall eat all of its fruit." 

Anastasia closed her eyes. She pressed her hands to her 
breast and quietly whispered: 

"Feel this, little cherry tree. I know you can feel it. I shall 
now do what you wished. This will really be your kiss, little 
cherry tree." 



42 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

Then Anastasia quickly placed her hands on my shoulders 
and, without opening her eyes, drew near, touched her lips to 
my cheek and held them there. 

It was a strange kiss, just the touch of her lips. But it was 
not like any I had ever received before. It aroused an extraor- 
dinarily pleasing sensation, one I had never felt up to now. 
The technique of moving the lips or tongue or body probably 
had nothing to do with it. What counted, most probably was 
what was hidden in the inner Man that was manifesting itself 
in the kiss. 

But what was hidden inside this taiga recluse? Where did 
she get so much knowledge from, so many unusual abilities 
and feelings? Or maybe everything she said was simply the 
product of her imagination? But then where did the ex- 
traordinarily tender, charming and heart-warming sensations 
come from — the ones I could most certainly feel within me? 
Perhaps our joint efforts will manage to unravel the mystery 
through the aid of the following situation which I had the 
good fortune to witness. 



Chapter Sevei 



Wlio 9 § to blamei 



Once when Anastasia was trying to explain something to me 
about lifestyles and faith, but couldn't find suitable, under- 
standable words — which she no doubt very much wanted to 
find — a curious incident took place. 

Anastasia quickly turned to face the ringing cedar, pressing 
the palms of her hands against its trunk. But then something 
inexplicable began happening to her. Lifting up her head and 
addressing either the cedar or Someone way up high, all at 
once she started speaking passionately and with concentrat- 
ed attention in a combination of words and sounds. 

She was evidently trying to show or explain something, 
or plead for something. From time to time her monologue 
seemed to be infused with tones of persistent demanding. 
The resonant ring of the cedar increased in volume. Its ray 
became brighter and thicker. And then Anastasia demanded 
sharply: 

'Answer me! Answer! Explain! Give it to me, give it to me!" 
she said, shaking her head and even stamping her bare feet. 

All at once the pale glow of the ringing cedar's tree-top be- 
came focused into a ray, and the ray suddenly broke off from 
the cedar and flew upward and dissolved into thin air. But at 
this point another ray appeared, coming down to the cedar 
from above. It seemed to consist of a bluish mist or cloud. 

The needles of the cedar, pointing downward, were illu- 
minated with similar misty rays, almost unnoticeable. And 
these rays pointed toward Anastasia, but didn't touch her — 
they seemed to disappear and dissolve in the air. And when 



44 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

she insistently stamped her feet and even slapped the ringing 
cedar's huge trunk with the palms of her hands, the glowing 
needles began stirring and their rays joined to form a single 
Ray of bluish mist. It aimed itself downward toward Anas- 
tasia, but didn't touch her. The Ray dissolved in the air, liter- 
ally dissolved — at about a metre away from Anastasia at first, 
then at just half that distance. 

I suddenly recalled with horror how Anastasia's parents 
had perished — very likely from just such a Ray 

Anastasia continued her stubborn pleading and demand- 
ing, much like a spoilt child insisting on some desired favour 
from its parents. And suddenly the Ray made a dash for her, as 
it were, illuminating her whole body like a flashbulb. 

A cloud first formed around Anastasia and then began dis- 
sipating, ever so slowly. The ray from the Cedar dissolved, 
the rays from the needles were extinguished. The cloud 
around Anastasia continued to dissipate. It was either en- 
tering into her or dissolving in space. 

Now radiant with a joyous smile, she turned and took a 
step in my direction. Then she stopped and began staring 
past me at something beyond. I turned around to see Anasta- 
sia's grandfather and great-grandfather coming into the glade. 
The tall, grey-bearded great-grandfather walked slowly, just 
ahead of his son. He was leaning on a stick that looked some- 
thing like a shepherd's staff. Upon reaching my position, he 
stopped and fixed his gaze on me, as though staring into emp- 
ty space. I couldn't even tell whether he actually saw me or 
not. Great-Grandfather stood silently for a moment. Then, 
after bowing ever so slightly, without uttering so much as a 
word of greeting, he headed over to Anastasia. 

Even though Grandfather was a bit of a fussbudget, he was 
a very simple man. His whole demeanour pointed to a most 
kind and cheerful fellow. As he approached the spot where 
I was standing, he at once stopped and offered me a simple 



Who's to blame? 45 

shake of his hand. He started to say something, but I can't 
recollect exactly what he said. For some reason both of us felt 
our attention and concern suddenly drawn to what was going 
on at the base of the cedar. 

Great-Grandfather had stopped just a metre from Anas- 
tasia. They stood there for a while, silently staring at each 
other. Anastasia was standing before the bearded old man, 
her hands lowered to a vertical position, as though she were a 
schoolgirl or university applicant being confronted by a strict 
examiner. She looked like a child caught being naughty, and 
her anxiety was most evident. 

The tense silence which had come over the scene was bro- 
ken by the deep, clear, velvety tones of Great- Grandfather's 
voice. He did not say hello to Anastasia but proceeded at 
once to a stern questioning, every word slowly and distinctly 
pronounced: 

"Who can make an appeal directly to Him without going 
through the light and rhythm that have been bestowed upon 
us?" Whereupon Anastasia responded without hesitation: 

'Any Man can make an appeal to Him. From time imme- 
morial He Himself has taken great pleasure in talking with 
Man. And this is what He wills right now." 

'Are all paths outlined by Him in advance?" Great-Grand- 
father continued. 'Are there many Earth-dwellers capable of 
discerning them? Are you capable of seeing these paths?" 

"Yes. I have seen what has been outlined for mankind. I 
have seen how future events are dependent on the conscious 
awareness of those who are living today" 

"Have His Sons and their enlightened followers who have 
perceived His Spirit, done enough to bring enlightenment to 
those living in the flesh?" 

"They have done and are doing everything, not even taking 
thought for their own life. They have borne witness to the 
truth and are still bearing witness." 



46 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Can one who has seen the truth have any doubt about His 
intellect, kindness and magnificence of Spirit?" 

"He has no equals! He is One! But He does wish to com- 
municate. He wants people to understand and love Him as 
He loves." 

"In communicating with Him, is it permissible to be inso- 
lent and demanding?" 

"He has given a particle of His Spirit and Mind to everyone 
living on the Earth. And if a small particle — His particle — 
in Man, does not agree with what is generally accepted, that 
means He — and I mean He — is not satisfied with every- 
thing as it has been outlined for the future. He is reflecting 
on it. Could one term His reflections insolence?" 

"Who is permitted to hasten the pace of His reflections?" 

"Only the One who gives permission." 

'And just what are you asking for?" 

"I am asking how to give understanding to those who do 
not understand, how to inculcate feeling in those who do not 
feel." 

"Has the lot of those who fail to perceive Truth been 
determined?" 

"The lot of those who fail to perceive Truth has been de- 
termined. But who is to blame for the lack of acceptance of 
truth — the one who does not accept the truth or the one 
from whom he receives it?" 

"What? You mean, you..." Great-Grandfather said in agi- 
tation, and then fell silent. 

He stood silently for a while, looking at Anastasia. Then, 
with the help of his staff-like cane, he got down on one knee 
and took Anastasia's hand. Inclining his silvery-grey head to- 
ward her, he kissed her hand and said: 

"Hello, Anastasia." 

Anastasia herself at once knelt down before her great- 
grandfather, and exclaimed with excitement and surprise: 



Who's to blame? 47 

"What do you mean, Grandpakins, treating me like a child? 
I'm grown up now." 

Then she put her arms around his shoulders, snuggled her 
head against his beard-covered chest and held still. I knew 
she was listening to his heartbeat. That was something she 
had loved ever since her childhood. 

The oldster continued kneeling, one hand resting on his 
cane, the other stroking Anastasia's golden hair. 

Grandfather got excited, and rushed over to his father and 
granddaughter who were both still kneeling. He began strut- 
ting around them, throwing up his arms in some bewilder- 
ment. Then all of a sudden he too got down on his knees and 
embraced them both... 

Grandfather was the first to rise to his feet. He then helped his 
father up. Great-Grandfather was still staring intently at Anas- 
tasia. Then he slowly turned around and started walking off. 
Grandfather in the meantime started muttering away, though 
it wasn't clear whether he was addressing anyone in particular: 

'All the same, they're all spoiling her. Even He spoils her. 
Dear me, just look at where she's got to! She pokes her nose 
in wherever she feels like it. There's nobody to teach her a les- 
son. Who will now help the dachniks? Who, I say?!" 

Great-Grandfather stopped in his tracks. He slowly turned 
around and said distinctly, in his deep velvety voice: 

"Granddaughter dear, follow the dictates of your heart and 
soul. I myself shall help you with the dachniks." 

Turning away once again, the majestic greybeard started on 
his way out of the glade. 

"Do you see what I mean? — they're all spoiling her," 
Grandfather broke in again. 

Picking up a short switch, he strutted over to Anastasia. 
Waving the switch about his head, he threatened: "I'm going 
to teach her a lesson, right now!" 



48 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Oh, oh!" Anastasia threw up her hands in feigned fright. 
Then she gave a laugh and ran off, trying to elude her pursuing 
grandfather. 

"So, she's even taken it into her head to run away from me. 
As if I couldn't catch up!" he muttered under his breath. 

With unaccustomed ease and speed he intensified his pur- 
suit. Anastasia ran laughing, weaving her way across the glade. 
And while Grandfather did not relax his pace, he was still un- 
able to catch up to her. 

Suddenly Grandfather gasped and sat down, grasping his 
leg. Anastasia quickly turned about, her face full of concern. 
She ran over to her grandfather and held out her hands to 
him. And all at once she stopped. Her infectious peals of 
laughter filled the glade. I paid particular attention to her 
grandfather's pose and realised the source of her mirth. 

Grandfather was squatting down on one leg, holding his 
other leg out in front, not touching the ground. And here he 
was stroking the very leg he was squatting on, as though it had 
been injured. He had outsmarted Anastasia, but she was not 
deceived. 

As it turned out later, she was supposed to have noticed 
right off the comic discrepancy in his pose. While Anasta- 
sia was laughing, Grandfather managed to seize her by the 
arm. He raised his switch and gave her a light spanking, like 
a child. Anastasia squealed, trying to pretend it was painful. 
And in spite of the endless laughter she was trying so hard 
to restrain, Grandfather put his arms around her shoulders 
and said: 

'All, right, that's enough. Don't cry You've learnt your les- 
son? %u've got what was coming to you. You'll be more obedi- 
ent in future. 

"Listen, I've started training the eagle. It may be old, but 
it is still strong and remembers many things. And here she's 
insolently poking her nose into everything." 



Who's to blame? 49 

"Grandpakins! My dear, sweet Grandpakins! The eagle! 
That means you already know about the baby?!" 

"The star, don't forget!..." 

Anastasia didn't let her grandfather finish. Putting her 
arms around his waist, she lifted him off the ground and spun 
him around. When she returned him safely to the ground, 
Grandfather staggered a bit, and said, trying to appear strict: 

"So that's the way you treat your elders? You see what I 
mean — you're spoilt!" And, continuing to wave the switch, 
he hurried to catch up with his father. As he reached the trees 
at the edge of the glade, Anastasia called after him: 

"Thank you, Grandpakins, for the eagle. Thank you very 
much!" 

Grandfather turned around and looked at her. 

"Only just be, my dear child... please remember to be 
more — " His voice was too gentle. Breaking off his sentence, 
he added with a bit more severity: 

"Watch out, or else..." 

And he disappeared into the forest. 



Chapter Eight 



The answer 



Once we found ourselves alone, I asked Anastasia: 

"What's all the big excitement about some kind of eagle?" 

"The eagle will be very much needed for the little one," she 
answered. "For our baby, Vladimir!" 

"To play with?" 

"Yes. Only play has a considerable significance for his fu- 
ture learning and feelings." 

"I see." 

I said this, even though I didn't fully understand this busi- 
ness of playing with a bird, even an eagle. 

"But what were you doing with the cedar? Were you pray- 
ing, or talking with someone? What happened with you and 
the cedar, and why did Great- Grandfather seem so severe 
when he talked with you?" 

"Tell me, Vladimir, do you think there is, well, some kind 
of intelligence out there? Does there exist a Mind in the invis- 
ible world of the cosmic — in the Universe? What do you 
think?" 

"I think it's true. You know, even scholars talk about that, 
as do mediums, and the Bible." 

"And this something — what would you say is the best word 
to describe it? I need to know this so that you and I can agree 
upon a definition. Say, for example, Mind, Intelligence, Being, 
Forces of Light, Vacuum, Absolute, Rhythm, Spirit, God...?" 

"Well, let's say 'God'." 

'All right, then. Now tell me, does God attempt to com- 
municate with Man, what do you think? I do not mean by a 



The 



answer 51 



voice from heaven, but through people, through the Bible, let 
us say — to offer a hint on how to be more happy?" 

"But the Bible was not necessarily dictated by God." 

"Well, by whom, then, would you say?" 

"People could have done that — people who wanted to in- 
vent religion. They sat down and wrote it collectively" 

"You think it is that simple? People just sat down and 
wrote a book, and thought up narratives and laws? A book 
that has lasted for millennia and is the most popular and 
widely read book that has existed to date?! Over the centu- 
ries a whole multitude of other books have been written, but 
few of them can compare with the Bible. What does that 
mean to you?" 

"I don't know," I admitted. 'Ancient books, of course, have 
been around for a long time, but most people today prefer 
contemporary literature — novels, detective stories and all 
sorts of inferior stuff. Why is that so?" 

"Because reading them hardly requires any thinking. In 
reading the Bible one is obliged to think at a faster pace and 
there are many questions one must answer for one's self. 
Only then will it become clear. It unfolds itself, so to speak, 
to one's consciousness. If one looks upon the Bible merely 
as a statement of dogma, then reading and memorising a few 
commandments is sufficient. But any dogma imposed from 
without and not grasped by one's inner being precludes taking 
advantage of the opportunities afforded Man as Creator." 

"What questions do we need to answer when we read the 
Bible?" 

"To begin with," replied Anastasia, "you might try to figure 
out why Pharaoh was unwilling to allow the children of Israel 
to leave Egypt." 

"Well, what's there to think about? The Israelites were 
slaves in Egypt. Who would want to let his slaves go? They 
worked hard and brought Pharaoh a good income." 



52 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"The Bible says that more than once the Israelites brought 
a plague over the whole land of Egypt. They even killed peo- 
ple's first-born offspring, along with those of animals. Sorcer- 
ers were later burnt at the stake for such acts, but here Phar- 
aoh simply refused to let them go. Now answer the question: 
where did the Israelite slaves get enough goods and cattle to 
spend forty years travelling? Where did they get the weapons 
to seize and destroy cities along their route?" 

"What do you mean, where? Didn't God give them everything?" 

"Do you think that was only God's doing?" 

"Then who?" 

"Man, Vladimir, has fall freedom. He has the opportunity 
to make use of all the bright resources God gave him origi- 
nally, but he can make use of other resources too. Man rep- 
resents a union of opposites. 

"See, Vladimir, how the Sun shines. That is God's creation. 
It is for everyone. For you and me, for the snakes, the grass 
and the flowers. But bees use the flowers to get honey, while 
the spider's power is to draw poison. Each of them has its own 
function and no bee and no spider can do otherwise. Only 
Man has a wider scope, only Man can act in more than one way! 
One Man can rejoice at the first rays of the Sun, while another 
might curse. Man, you see, can be both a bee and a spider." 

"Does that mean God wasn't the only one helping the Is- 
raelites? How can you tell, then, what God actually did, as 
opposed to what was merely attributed to Him?" 

"When something significant is created through Man," 
Anastasia explained, "there are always two opposites at work. 
Man exercises freedom of choice. Which he will accept more 
of depends upon his purity and conscious awareness." 

"Well, all right, let's accept that. So, you were attempting to 
talk with Him when you were standing at the base of the cedar?" 

"Yes, I wanted Him to answer me." 

'And Great-Grandfather objected?" 



The answer 53 

"Great-Grandfather thought that I was speaking too irrev- 
erently, that I was too demanding." 

"You really were demanding, I saw it. You were stamping 
your feet, and pleading. What on earth did you want?" 

"I wanted to hear an answer." 

"What sort of answer?" 

"You see, Vladimir, God's essence is not in the flesh. He can- 
not yell down to everyone from heaven, telling them how to 
live. But He wants things to be fine and whole with everyone, 
and so he sends His Sons — people into whose mind and soul 
He has been able to break through at least to some extent. 

"His Sons then go and talk with other people, they speak 
different languages. Sometimes through words, sometimes 
with the help of music or pictures, or various actions. Some- 
times they are listened to, at other times they are persecuted 
and killed. Like Christ Jesus, for example. And still God is 
sending forth His Sons. But as always, it is only some of the 
people who pause and listen to them, while others who are 
called do not get the message at all. And they violate the laws 
of a happy existence." 

"I see. And that's why God will punish mankind by a global 
catastrophe — some kind of fearful judgement?" 

"God never punishes anyone, and He does not need catas- 
trophes. God is Love. But that is the way it was planned from 
the very beginning. Created that way from above. When 
mankind reaches a specific point, one might say, in its unwill- 
ingness to accept the essence of truth. Once the elements of 
darkness manifest in Man reach that critical point, in order 
to avert total self-annihilation, a global catastrophe rushes in 
which takes away a great many people's lives and crushes the 
destructive life-support system of artificial creation. The ca- 
tastrophe serves as a lesson to those who are left alive. 

"Following a catastrophe there is a window of time in 
which mankind seems to go through a fearful hell. But it is 



54 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

a hell of their own making. It is those who are left alive that 
fall into this hell. Then for a while their children survive as 
in a pristine, original state, and they eventually reach a stage 
one could call Paradise. Then they fall away again, and it all 
starts over again in tears. This has been going on for billions 
of earthly years." 

"If all this has been inevitably repeating itself for billions of 
years, what then were you asking for?" 

"I wanted to find out how and by what means people could 
be made wiser without subjecting them to a catastrophe. You 
see, I have figured out that a catastrophe can be blamed not 
only on those who do not accept truth, but also on the ab- 
sence of a sufficiently effective means of making the truth be 
seen, of making people alert to the truth. I was asking Him to 
find such a means. To reveal it, either to me or someone else. 
To whom, I feel, is not really important. What is important 
is that it is there to be seen, and that it works." 

'And what did He tell you? What kind of voice does He 
have?" 

"Nobody can tell what kind of voice He has. His answer 
takes form, as it were, in Man's discovery of a thought spon- 
taneously occurring to himself. After all, He can speak only 
through His particle that is present in every Man, and this 
particle is already relaying information to every other part 
of the individual with the help of the rhythm of vibration. 
Hence the impression arises that Man is doing it all by him- 
self. Though Man himself can actually do a great deal. After 
all, Man is God's likeness. In each Man there is a tiny particle 
breathed into him by God right at birth. He has given half of 
Himself to mankind upon the Earth. And the forces of dark- 
ness try by whatever means they can to prevent this God- 
reflected particle from acting out its high purpose, to distract 
Man from communication with it, and, through it, with God. 
It is much easier to fight with a small particle when it is all 



The answer 55 

alone, especially if it is not connected to the Basic Force of 
the Universe. 

"But if these particles unite amongst themselves in bright 
aspirations, it is much more difficult for the forces of dark- 
ness to hinder them. Even if one single particle, living in just 
one single Man, is in full contact with God, then it is impos- 
sible for the forces of darkness to overpower him, to defeat 
his spirit and mind." 

"That means," I surmised, "you appealed to Him so that the 
answer would be given birth in you as to what to say to people, 
and how to say it, in order to avert a global catastrophe?" 

"More or less." 

'And what answer was given birth in you? What words 
must be spoken?" 

"Words... just words alone, pronounced in the usual way, 
are not sufficient. So many words have been spoken already 
Yet humanity on the whole continues to move toward its own 
perdition. 

"You have no doubt heard words to the effect that smok- 
ing is bad, that alcoholic drinks are bad. And this is repeated 
by a number of sources, including your own physicians, in the 
language you best understand, yet you still go on doing it. You 
go on doing it without regard for the deterioration in your 
own health, and even painful sensations will not restrain ei- 
ther you or many other people from these destructive habits. 
God says to you: 'You should not do that.' And the message 
reaches you through pain. And it is not just your pain, but His 
too, and yet you take painkillers galore and go on doing your 
own thing as before. Again, you are not interested in thinking 
about what produces the pain. 

'And all the other higher truths are known to mankind, 
but they are not being acted upon. Time after time they are 
rejected in favour of momentary illusory gratifications. It 
means another way must be revealed to allow them not only 



$6 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

to know but also to feel other kinds of pleasure. Once Man 
has learnt of these, he can compare and realise everything for 
himself, he will unblock access to the God-bestowed parti- 
cle within him. It is no good simply threatening Man with a 
catastrophe, it is no good simply blaming those who do not 
accept truth. Everyone who brings the truth to others must 
understand how needful it is to seek a more perfect method 
of explaining it. Great-Grandfather agreed with me." 

"But that's not what he said." 

"There was a lot that Great-Grandfather said that you did 
not hear." 

"If you were able to communicate with each other without 
words, why then did you say the words that I did hear?" 

"Would you not consider it offensive if people conversed 
using foreign words you could not understand, given that 
they knew your language too?" 

Various thoughts ran through my mind: Either I believe eve- 
rything she tells me or I don't. She herself, of course, believes. 
And it's not just that she Believes it, she acts upon it. She takes it 
all so intensely — maybe I should try to somehow restrain her 
enthusiasm. So I tried to dampen her fervour by saying: 

"You know what I think, Anastasia — maybe you don't 
need to take it so to heart and get so stirred up with your de- 
mands, as you were doing at the cedar tree. Even the blue 
glow or vapour from the cedar came crushing down on you. 
Your grandfather and great-grandfather were right to be con- 
cerned. It's probably very dangerous. If God has not given 
the answer to any of His Sons as to how to explain everything 
to people most effectively, that means there is no answer. It 
means that a global catastrophe is the most effective way of 
getting His message across. Maybe He's even annoyed with 
you for poking your nose in too far and will punish you so you 
won't do it again, just like your grandfather said." 

"God is kind. He will not punish." 



The answer 57 

"But He isn't speaking to you either. Maybe He's not in- 
terested in listening to you, and meanwhile you're wasting so 
much energy." 

"He is listening and He is answering." 

"What is He answering? Is there something new you know 
now? 

"He has hinted at where to find the answer, where to search 
fork." 

"He's 'hinted? To you?! So, where is it?" 

"In the union of opposites." 

"What does that mean?" 

"It happens, for example, when two opposite extremes of 
human thinking in the Avatamsaka commentary merge into 
a new dynamic whole. This was behind the philosophies of 
Hua-yen and Kegon, 1 which offer a world-view of even greater 
perfection, not unlike the models and theories in your mod- 
ern physics." 

"What was all that?" 

"Oh, please do excuse me. I do not know what came over 
me. I completely forgot myself." 

"What are you apologising for?" 

"You must forgive me. I used words which are completely 
unfamiliar to you." 

"You're right. They are unfamiliar. I have no idea what 
they mean." 

"I shall try not to do that again. Please, do not be angry 
with me." 

"Don't worry, I'm not angry Only explain in ordinary words 
where and how you will go about searching for this answer." 

Avatamsaka Sutra (also known as the Flower Garden Sutra) — considered 
to be the most profound of the Buddhist sutras (sets of aphorisms), which 
holds that all manifestations of existence are self-created and mutually 
identical. It gave rise to the philosophical school known as Hua-yen in Chi- 
na and Kegon in Japan. 



58 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"I certainly cannot do it alone. It can only be known 
through the joint effort of the divine particles to be found 
in various people living on the Earth — people with opposite 
modes of thinking and comprehension. Only through a joint 
effort will it be seen, and then in a dimension invisible to the 
eye — the domain of thoughts. One can also call it the di- 
mension of the forces of light. It exists between the material 
world, in which Man lives, and God. 

"I shall see it, and many others will, too. Then it will be 
easier to attain a universal conscious awareness. It will be 
easier to bring mankind through the dark forces' window of 
time. And the catastrophes will not be repeated." 

"Specifically, what do people need to do right now to make 
the answer appear?" 

"It would be fine if a lot of people could wake up in the 
morning at a set time — six o'clock, say — and think about 
something good. What specifically they think about is not 
important. It is important that they come out with bright 
thoughts. They can think about their children, about their 
loved ones, about how to make everyone happy If they could 
only think fifteen minutes like that. And the more people 
that do that, the quicker the answer will come. The Earth's 
time zones may be different, since the Earth is turning, but 
the images created by these people's bright yearnings will 
merge into a single, clear, fulfilled image of conscious aware- 
ness. The simultaneity of bright thoughts will intensify each 
person's ability many, many times." 

"Oh, Anastasia, how naive you are! Who in their right mind 
would wake up at six o'clock in the morning just to think for 
fifteen minutes? People will only get up that early if they have 
to go to work, or have a plane to catch, or are going on a busi- 
ness trip. Anybody else will decide: 'Leave the thinking to 
others, I'm going to get some more sleep!' I doubt you'll find 
many helpers that way" 



The answer 59 

"But you, Vladimir — could not you, at least, help me?" 

"Me? I don't wake up that early unless I have to. But if 
I should somehow find myself waking up then, what good 
things should I think about?" 

"Well, for example, you could think about the little son I 
will be giving birth to. Your son! Think how delighted he will 
be to be kissed by the Sun's rays, to see the pure and magnifi- 
cent flowers all around him, and have the bushy-tailed squirrel 
play with him in this glade. Think how good it would be if all 
the other children in the world could forever be kissed by the 
warm Sun — then nothing would make them sad. Then think 
about who you might say something glad to or give a smile to 
during the day ahead. And how good it would be if this mar- 
vellous world lasted forever, and what you could do — you in 
particular — to bring this about." 

"I'll think about our son. And I'll try to come out with 
other good thoughts. Only what's the point? You'll be think- 
ing here, in the forest, while I'll be in an apartment in the city. 
That's only two of us. You say many people are needed. So 
until we get a lot of people involved, isn't it pointless for just 
the two of us to try?" 

"Even one person, Vladimir, is more than none. Two to- 
gether are more than two apart. Later, after you write your 
book, more people will come along. I shall feel them and de- 
light in each one. We shall learn to catch each other's feelings 
of the heart, understand and help each other through the di- 
mension of the forces of light." 

"Everything you say still has to be believed. I myself don't com- 
pletely believe in this 'bright dimension', this 'domain of thoughts'. 
Y)u can't even prove it exists, because you can't touch it." 

"Yet your scientists have come to the conclusion that 
thought is something tangible." 

"They have, but since you still can't actually touch it, it's not 
something you can get completely set in your mind." 



60 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"But when you write your book, people will be able to touch it, 
they can hold it in their hands. Like a materialised thought." 

'Again you're carrying on about that book! I've told you, 
I don't believe in it either. Even less in your claim that you, 
with the help of certain combinations of letters known only 
to you, can arouse feelings in the reader — bright feelings yet, 
that will help the reader make some sense of it all." 

"I told you how it works." 

"Yes, you told me. But it still doesn't make me believe. If 
I try to write, I shan't tell everything all at once. People will 
laugh at me... You know something, Anastasia, can I tell you 
in all honesty?" 

"Yes, tell me in all honesty" 

"Only don't be offended, okay?" 

"I shall not be offended." 

"Everything you've talked up to me I'm going to have to 
verify with our scholars, and see what they say about it in vari- 
ous religious and modern teachings. There's a lot of different 
courses out there now, a lot of preachers." 

"Go ahead and verify, by all means." 

'And still, I feel you're a very kind person. Your philosophy 
is interesting, quite unusual. But if you compare your actions 
with those of others who are concerned about the soul, about 
ecology, well, frankly, you're way behind the rest." 

"Why should you conclude that?" 

"Think about it. All the enlightened people, as you call 
them, have gone off by themselves at some point. Buddha 
went off for seven years into the forest and set up a whole 
doctrinal platform, and he has a lot of followers throughout 
the world. Christ Jesus went off just for forty days, and even 
now people are excited about his teachings." 

"Christ Jesus went off by himself more than once," Anas- 
tasia pointed out. 'And he did a lot of thinking when he was 
travelling about." 



The answer 61 

"So let's say more than forty days, let's say a year even. The 
elders, who are now considered saints, were ordinary people 
who went into the forest to live in isolation for a time, then 
later monasteries were built on these sites, and a lot of follow- 
ers arose, right?" 

"Yes, Vladimir, you are right." 

"And here you've been living twenty-six years now in the 
forest, and you don't even have a single follower. You haven't 
come up with any platform. And here you're asking me to 
write a book. You're grasping at that like a straw. You dream 
of laying out your own combinations of signs in it. Well, 
if things aren't working out for you like with other leaders, 
maybe it's not even worth trying. There are others more 
capable than you who may well think up something with- 
out your input. Come on, why not get real and live more 
simply? I'll help you adapt in our world. Now, you're not 
offended, eh?" 

"No, I am not offended." 

"Then I'll tell you the whole truth, right to the end. To 
help you get a hold of yourself." 

"Go on." 

"You have some extraordinary abilities, Anastasia, there's 
no doubt about that. You can pick up any information you 
want as easily as counting one- two- three. But tell me now, 
when did you first become aware of that Ray of yours?" 

"It was given to me right at the start, as it is to everybody 
Only my awareness of it, and how to use it — that was some- 
thing Great- Grandfather taught me by the time I was six." 

"So. That means at six years of age you were already able 
to see what was going on in our lives? You could analyse situa- 
tions, help people — even treat illnesses at a distance?" 

"Yes, I could." 

"Now, tell me, what have you been doing all the twenty 
years since?" 



62 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"I have been telling you and showing you. I have been work- 
ing with the people you call dachniks. Trying to help them." 

'All these twenty years, day in and day out?" 

"Yes, sometimes even at night, if I was not too tired." 

"So, you've been acting like an obsessed fanatic, stubbornly 
holding on to the dachniks all these years? Who made you do 
this?" 

"Nobody can make me. I did it of my own free will. After 
Great-Grandfather suggested it to me, I realised for myself 
what a good thing, how important it was." 

"You know, I think your great-grandfather suggested the 
dachniks to you because he felt sorry for you. After all, you 
grew up without your parents. He gave you the very easiest 
and simplest task. Now that he's seen you've begun to under- 
stand something greater, he's given you permission to work 
with other things. And to drop the dachniks." 

"But this other is connected with the people you call 
dachniks. And I shall continue to help them. I love them 
very much and I shall never abandon them." 

"Now that's what I call fanaticism. There's something in 
you that you don't have enough of to be a normal person. 
You must understand that. The dachniks are far from being 
the most important people in our society They have abso- 
lutely no influence at all over social development. Dachas 
and vegetable gardens — they're just small subsistence plots. 
It's where people go to relax after their hard work or when 
they go into retirement. And that's all. You understand? 
That's it! And if you, with all your colossal knowledge and 
phenomenal abilities, are only interested in dachniks, then 
you must have some kind of psychological disorder. I think 
I ought to take you to a psychotherapist. If you can get that 
disorder cured, then just maybe you'll really be in a position 
to help society." 

"I very much want to help society" 



The answer 63 

"So then, let's go — I'll take you to a practising psycho- 
therapist at a good private clinic. You yourself said a global 
catastrophe could happen. This way you'll be able to help 
ecological movements, you'll be able to help science." 

"But I shall be an even greater help if I stay here." 

'All right, you can come back here later and start getting 
involved in more serious issues." 

"What do you mean, 'more serious?" 

"Y)u decide. Probably something connected, for example, 
with heading off an ecological disaster or a global catastrophe. 
By the way, do you have any idea when the latter might occur?" 

"There are localised disasters happening even now in vari- 
ous parts of the Earth. Mankind has been preparing every- 
thing and more for its own destruction for a long time now." 

"But when will it happen on a global scale — when will the 
apocalypse come?" 

"It might occur in 2002, for example. But it can be pre- 
vented, or delayed, as happened in 1992." 

"Y)u mean to say it might have come to pass in 1992?" 

"Yes, but they delayed it." 

"Who are 'they'? Who averted it? Who delayed it?" 

"A catastrophe on a global scale in 1992 was averted thanks 
to the dachniks." 

"Wha-a-at?!" 

"There are all sorts of people all over the world who are 
working against global disaster. The 1992 catastrophe did not 
happen mainly thanks to the Russian dachniks." 

'And you... that means you!... Even at six years old you 
were aware of the dachniks' significance? You foresaw it? You 
worked non-stop. You helped them." 

"I understood the dachniks' significance, Vladimir." 



Chapter Nine 



Oachnik Day and an 
All-Earth holiday! 

"But why Russian dachniks in particular? What's the connec- 
tion here?" 

"You see, Vladimir, even though the Earth is very large, it 
is very, very sensitive. 

"Think of how big you are by comparison with a tiny mos- 
quito. And yet, when a mosquito lands on you, you feel it 
through your skin. And the Earth also feels — everything. 
When people pave it over with concrete and asphalt, when 
they cut down trees and burn the forests growing on it, when 
they pick and poke at its innards and sprinkle it with powder 
called fertiliser, it feels the hurt. And yet still it loves people, 
as a mother loves her children. 

'And the Earth tries to absorb into its depths all humanity's 
anger, and only when it no longer has the strength to hold it 
back, that anger explodes in the form of volcanic eruptions 
and earthquakes. 

"The Earth needs our help. Tenderness and a loving atti- 
tude give it strength. The Earth may be large, but it is most 
sensitive. And it feels the tender caress of even a single hu- 
man hand. Oh, how it feels and anticipates this touch! 

"There was a time in Russia when the Earth 1 was deemed 
to belong to everyone and therefore nobody in particular. So 



the Earth (Russian: Zemlid) — in this case denoting the land, especially ar- 
able land. The reference here is to the early Soviet period of Russian his- 
tory, when the Bolshevik government took the country's farmland out of 



Dachnik Day and an All-Earth holiday! 65 

people did not think of it as their own. Then changes came in 
Russia. They began giving out tiny private plots to people to 
go with their dachas. 

"It was no coincidence at all that these plots were extremely 
small, too small to cultivate with mechanised equipment. But 
Russians, yearning for contact with the Earth, took to them 
with joyous enthusiasm. They went to people both poor and 
rich. Because nothing can break Man's connection with the 
Earth! 

'After obtaining their little plots of land, people intuitively 
felt their worth. And millions of pairs of human hands be- 
gan touching the Earth with love. With their hands, you un- 
derstand, not with mechanised tools, lots and lots of people 
touched the ground caressingly on these little plots. And the 
Earth felt this, it felt it very much. It felt the blessing touch 
of each individual hand upon it. And the Earth found new 
strength to carry on." 

"So, what now?" I queried. "Should we erect a monument 
to every dachnik as the saviour of the planet?" 

"Yes, Vladimir, they are saviours indeed." 

"But that would be far too many monuments! I have it! Why 
not set up a one- or two-day national holiday? Dachnik Day, or 
an All-Earth Day, it could be designated in the calendar." 

"Oooh, a holiday!" Anastasia threw up her arms in elation. 
"What a terrific idea indeed! A celebration! A happy and 
cheerful holiday — that is something we definitely need!" 

'And you with that Ray of yours can suggest to our govern- 
ment, to our deputies in the State Duma, 2 that they pass the 
required legislation." 



the hands of its individual peasant owners and declared it state property. It 
was not until 1993 that the right to private ownership of land was restored 
in Russia's new Constitution. 

'Duma (pronounced DOO-ma) — Russia's national parliament. 



66 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"I cannot get through to them. They are too busy with their 
daily routine. They have so many decisions to make, they 
have absolutely no time to think. Besides, there is not much 
point in my attempting to raise their conscious awareness. It 
would be difficult for them to accept a complete conscious 
picture of reality. They are not allowed to make any better 
resolutions than those they are passing at the moment." 

"Who can stop the government or the president from so 
doing?" 

"Ifou. The masses. The majority. As for correct decisions, 
they are what you call 'unpopular measures'." 

"Yes, you're right. We have democracy The most impor- 
tant decisions are taken by the majority. The majority is al- 
ways right." 

"The greatest conscious awareness is always achieved first 
by individuals, Vladimir. It always takes the majority a space 
of time to catch on." 

"If that's true, then why do we need democracy, referen- 
dums?" 

"They are needed to serve as a shock-absorber, to avoid 
sudden jerks. When these shock-absorbers do not work, rev- 
olution occurs. A revolutionary period is always a challenge 
for the majority" 

"But diDachnikDay? — that's not revolution. What's wrong 
with itT 

'A holiday like that is fine. It is needed. Definitely needed. 
It should be set up as quickly as possible. I shall think about 
how it can be done as quickly as possible." 

"I'll help you. I know better which levers to pull in our 
world for the most effective results. I'll write to the papers... 
No, better still, I'll write about the dachniks in that book of 
yours and ask people to send telegrams to the government 
and the Duma, requesting the establishment of a Dachnik 
Day as an All-Earth holiday Only what date should it be?" 



Dachnik Day and an All-Earth holiday! 6 7 

"The 23rd of July:" 

"Why the 23rd?" 

"It is an appropriate day: Also because it is your birthday, 
Vladimir. After all, this fantastic idea is all yours!" 

"That's great. So, we'll ask people to send telegrams asking 
for legislation setting up the 23rd of July as Dachnik Day and 
an All-Earth holiday. And as soon as the telegrams start arriv- 
ing at the Duma and people begin to wonder why people are 
sending them, you burst in with your Ray!" 

"Burst in I shall! I shall burst in with all my might! And 
it will be a fine, bright and beautiful holiday! For everyone! 
Everyone will have such a good time and the whole Earth will 
rejoice in its light!" 

"Why does everybody have to have a good time? This holi- 
day's only for dachniks, isn't it?" 

"We must see that everyone has a good time. This holiday 
will indeed begin in Russia. But then it will become the most 
fantastic holiday for the world as a whole. A marvellous holi- 
day for the soul." 

'And how will it be celebrated the first time in Russia?" I 
enquired. "Nobody will know what to make of it." 

"Each one's heart will suggest on that day what he should 
do and how I can visualise a general outline right now." 

Then Anastasia began talking, clearly enunciating each 
word. She talked with both speed and inspiration. It was all 
most extraordinary — the rhythm of her speech, the arrange- 
ment of her phrases, the pronunciation of her words: 

May all of Russia wake that day at dawn. May people alone, 
or with friends and family, come to the land and stand upon it 
with bare feet. Those who have their little plot of land, let th em- 
greet with praise the first rays of the Sun amidst the shoots and 
seedlings they have planted. And touch each species with caress- 
ing hands. 



68 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

As the Sun rises in the sky, let them pick and taste the fruit of their 
plantings, one from each variety, and that should suffice them, up 'til 
the mid-day meal. 

Before the meal let them tend their plots anew. Let each one pon- 
der, their life and joy, and what they are destined to do. 

Let each remember their family and friends with love. And pon- 
der why their planted seeds are growing, and designate the purpose 
of every plant. 

And even before the mid-day feast everyone shoidd spend at least 
an hour by themselves. It is not important how or where or exactly 
when, but they should be alone for a spell. To spend at least an hour 
in an effort to look within themselves. 

Let the whole family gather for the meal in the middle of the day. 
Those living at home and those who have come from far away. Let 
dinner be prepared from, what the Earth has borne for the hour of 
repast. Let every one bring to the whole table whatever is desired 
by his heart and soul. Let all the family members look each other 
lovingly in the eye. And let the eldest bless the table together with 
the youngest. And let the table all around with quiet conversation 
resound. There shoidd be good words spoken. About all those who 
sit beside you. 

The scene Anastasia described was so extraordinarily vivid 
that I could feel myself sitting at the table, with people all 
around. I found myself caught up in the celebration — I was 
believing in it or, rather, I was participating in it. And I felt 
led to contribute a feature of my own: 

"There should be a toast before dinner. Everyone raise 
their glass. Let's drink to the Earth, let's drink to love!" 

I actually felt I was holding the glass in my hand. 

Then suddenly she broke into my reverie: 

"Vladimir, please let there be no alcoholic poison on the 
table." 

The glass vanished from my hand. 



Dachnik Day and an All-Earth holiday! 6 9 

"Stop it, Anastasia! Don't spoil the celebration!" 
"Well, since you have your mind set on it, let there be some 
wine from berries, but this must be imbibed in very small 
sips." 

'All right, wine it is, then. Just so as not to change our hab- 
its all at once. And after the dinner, then what shall we do?" 

Let the people return to the cities and towns, having gathered the 
fruit they have grown on their little plots of ground. Let them bear 
it in baskets and share it with everyone at home who do not have 
plots of their own. 

Oh, how many positive feelings will come from this day! They 
will bring about healings of many people's diseases. Diseases which 
threatened with death and those not erased by time will simply 
vanish. Let those who are incurably or even slightly ill go out and 
meet the flood of dachniks returning from- their plots. The rays of 
Love and of good, along with the fruits of their labours will heal 
diseases. 

Look and see! Look at the city's main railway station, where 
floods of people are arriving with baskets of flowers. Look and see 
the people's eyes glimmering with kindness, joy and peace. 

Anastasia was virtually glowing with a radiance, as she be- 
came more and more inspired with the idea of the holiday. 
Her eyes were no longer merely shining with joy, they were 
literally sparkling with a pale-blue luminescence. The ex- 
pression on her face was changing, yet still remained joyful, 
as though a mighty flood of images of this celebration were 
rushing through her brain. 

All at once she fell silent. Then, bending one leg at the 
knee and lifting up her right arm, she sprang from the ground 
with a tremendous recoil, virtually taking flight like an arrow 
shot from the Earth. She leapt almost as high as the bottom 
branches of the cedars. Upon landing, she waved her arm, 



70 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

clapped her hands, and a bluish glow flooded the glade. All 
the words Anastasia now uttered seemed to be echoed by 
each tiny bug and blade of grass and each majestic cedar. Her 
voice sounded as though it were being reinforced by a hidden 
power. Even though her words were not that loud, it seemed 
as though they could be heard by every vein running through 
the unfathomable expanse of the Universe. 

Mother Russia will greet crowds of guests on that day! They are 
all of the Earth as Atlanteans born! As prodigal sons they shall re- 
turn. 

On that day, all over Russia, let everyone awake and greet the 
dawn. Let all the strings of the harp of the Universe make cheerful 
melody and swell with resonant sound. Let all the bards sing and tell 
with joyful tongue and play guitars in all the streets, in every yard 
around. And he who is too old will once again be young as many, 
many years ago. 

'And I, Anastasia, will I be young once more?" 

Both you and I, Vladimir, shall be young and people will feel 
young for the very first time. And the old shall write letters to their 
children. And children to their parents. And infants taking their 
very first steps on Earth shall enter a better world of joy and mirth. 
And on that day no child shall feel insulted. For adults shall treat 
children as their equals. 

And all the gods on high will to the Earth descend. And will com- 
mend themselves to take on simple forms. 

And God Himself, the Universal God will be delighted. May Tou 
rejoice too in Love, making all the Earth so bright! 

Anastasia was really getting carried away with images of the 
holiday She was whirling around the glade in a fiery dance, 
becoming more and more inspired at every step. 



Dachnik Day and an All-Earth holiday! 71 

"Stop! Stop!" I cried to Anastasia, suddenly realising that 
she was taking it all too seriously. She was not merely uttering 
words. I now realised her every word and novel turn of phrase 
was actually a visualisation! She was visualising images of the 
celebration! And with her typical stubbornness she will go on 
visualising and dreaming about it until the dream turns into 
reality Like a diehard fanatic she will dream! She will give her 
all to those dachniks, just as she has done for the past twenty 
years. And I cried out to stop her: 

"What's going on? Don't you understand? All that stuff 
about a holiday — it's all just in fun! I was just teasing!" 

Anastasia suddenly stopped in her tracks. No sooner did I 
catch a glimpse of her than I felt a big lump in my throat from 
the look on her face. Her face looked bewildered like that of 
a child. She looked at me with pain and pity as though I were 
an unremitting attacker. And almost in a whisper she started 
saying: 

Vladimir, I took it seriously. I have already visualised it all. 
And to life's chain of events people's forthcoming telegrams have al- 
ready interwoven a link. The order of events will be broken without 
them,. I have accepted your words, believed them and brought them 
to pass. I perceived you were speaking of the holiday and telegrams 
sincerely. Do not take back the words that you have spoken. Just 
help me with the telegrams, so that I may, as you said, offer assistance 
with my Ray. 

"Okay, I'll try only don't panic, — maybe it'll end up that 
nobody will even want to send the telegrams." 

There will be people who will comprehend. They will feel it in 
the government and in your Duma as well. And a holiday there will 
be! It will arise! Time will tell! Look here! 



72 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

And once again celebration images passed before my eyes. 

There! — I've written about it. Now you can go and do as 
your heart and soul dictates. 3 



3 In 1998, one year after this book was first published in Russian, the gover- 
nor of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Yakovlev, instituted a Gardeners' Day , giving 
the residents of St. Petersburg and the surrounding region an additional 
day off to spend on their garden-plots. Since then this example has been 
followed by many regional authorities and — while not yet instituted on 
the national level — the holiday is officially celebrated in dozens of cities 
and regions throughout Russia. The date of the holiday varies from region 
to region. 



Chapter Ten 



The rinsing sword of the ban 



"What do you mean, Anastasia, by such extraordinary turns 
of phrase in speaking about the holiday? You pronounced 
each word in such a tone that every sound was crystal clear 
on its own!" 

"I tried to reproduce a picture of the holiday with preci- 
sion, to use detailed images." 

"But what about the words? What particular significance 
do they have?" 

"Upon each word was borne a multitude of happy pictures 
and events. And now they will all come true. For thought 
and word, you understand, are the principle instrument of 
the Grand Creator. An instrument bestowed not on all that 
grows with flesh and bones, but just alone to Man." 

"Then why doesn't everything that people say come to pass?" 

"When the thread between the spoken word and the soul 
is broken, when the soul is found empty and the image dulled, 
then what is said, though it be plenty, is as empty as chaotic 
sound. And nothing can it betoken." 

"That's sheer fantasy! Come on now, you let yourself be- 
lieve in everything, like a naive child." 

"How can it be a fantasy, Vladimir?! After all, I could give 
hundreds of examples from the world you live in, and even 
from your own life, as to what power a word has when it 
projects the image connected with it!" 

"Then give me an example I can understand." 

'An example? Here is one. A person is standing on the 
stage before an audience and speaking words. An actor, for 



74 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

instance. He will repeat the same words people have heard 
many times before, but there is only one actor people will 
listen to with bated breath. Another they will not adore. 
The words are the same, but there is avast difference in how 
they are declaimed. What do you think? Why does that 
happen?" 

"Well, that's actors for you. They spend years studying at 
drama school — some are outstanding in their profession, 
others just so-so. They memorise their lines at rehearsals so 
that they can say them with expression." 

"They are taught at drama school, Vladimir, how to get 
inside the image that underlies the word. Then they try to 
reproduce that image during rehearsals. And if an actor suc- 
ceeds in projecting even ten percent of the invisible images 
underlying the words he utters, the audience will then listen 
with their whole attention. And if he should succeed in pro- 
jecting the images behind half of his words, you will indeed 
call that actor a genius. For his soul is speaking directly with 
the souls of those sitting or standing in the auditorium. And 
during the play people will laugh or cry as they feel in their 
soul what the actor desires to convey. Such is the instrument 
of the Grand Creator." 

'And you, whenever you speak, with how many words can 
you project the corresponding image — ten percent, or fif- 
ty?" 

"With all of them. That is the way Great-Grandfather 
taught me." 

'All of them? Really?! All the words?!" 

"Great-Grandfather said it is even possible to project the 
images contained in the letters of the alphabet. And I learnt 
how to come up with an image for each letter." 

"Why letters? Letters don't mean anything." 

"Letters do mean something! Behind every letter in San- 
skrit, for example, there are words, even whole phrases. 



The ringing sword of the bard 75 

There are letters there too, and beyond them many written 
words, so that infinity is hidden in every letter." 

"Well isn't that something?! And we just splutter out our 
words." 

"Yes, that is what happens to words that have been passed 
down to us over thousands of years. They have passed through 
and penetrated time and space. And the forgotten images un- 
derlying them still today are once more attempting to knock 
on the door of the human race. And they watch out for our 
souls, and even go to war on their behalf." 

'And what kind of words are these? Is there at least one 
that might be familiar to me?" 

"Of course there is. At least as a sound you have heard. But 
people have forgotten what underlies these words." 

Anastasia lowered her eyelids and sat silent for a while. 
Then, very quietly, almost in a whisper, she asked me: 

"Vladimir, please pronounce the word bard"" 

"Bard," I said. 

She shuddered, almost as though in pain, and said: 

"Oh, the indifference and banality in your pronunciation 
of that majestic word! You blew a cold gust of emptiness and 
neglect upon the candle's restless flickering flame. A flame 
that has been connected through the centuries and possibly 
even addressed to you or someone else living today by a dis- 
tant forebear. Forgetfulness of our derivation is the cause of 
our modern devastation." 

'And just what didn't you like about my pronunciation? 
What should I be remembering in connection with that 
word?" 

Anastasia fell silent. Then in a quiet voice she began utter- 
ing phrases straight out of antiquity: 

"Long before Christ's birth there lived certain people on 
the Earth — our forefathers, who were called Celts. Their 
wise teachers were known as Druids. Many peoples inhabiting 



j6 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

the Earth at that time knelt before the Druids' knowledge of 
the material and spiritual worlds. Not a single Celtic warrior 
would dare unsheathe his sword in the presence of a Druid. To 
be awarded the title of Druid even at the starting level, they 
had to undergo at least twenty years of arduous training at 
the hands of a spiritual teacher — a Druid priest. Those who 
were consecrated in this domain were known as Bards. They 
alone had the moral authority to go out among the people and 
sing about and inculcate the light and truth contained in their 
song, using words to project images and heal people's hearts. 

"The Celts fell subject to attacks by Roman legions. Their 
last battle took place at a river. The Romans noticed that there 
were women walking among the Celtic warriors — women 
with long, flowing hair. Experienced Roman commanders, 
though knowing what this meant — that they would have to 
outnumber the Celts six to one in order to defeat them, were 
unaware of the reason why. Nor do modern historians and 
researchers have a complete explanation. It all had to do with 
these unarmed women with their long, flowing hair. 

"The Romans surged in with a mighty force, outnumber- 
ing the Celts nine to one. Aligned with their backs up against 
the river, the last family of fighting Celts was on the verge of 
defeat. 

"They stood strong in a semicircle. Behind them was a 
young woman, breast-feeding a wee baby girl, and singing. 
The young mother sang a bright and cheerful song, so as 
not to instil doleful fear in the little one's soul — so that she 
would be left with images of light. 

"Whenever the little one tore herself away from her moth- 
er's breast, their eyes would meet. The woman would cease her 
singing and each time tenderly utter her baby's name: Barda. 

"Soon there was no longer any semicircle to defend the 
pair. All that stood between the nursing mother and the flood 
of Roman legionnaires making their way along the narrow 



The ringing sword of the bard 77 

path was a young and blood-gored Bard armed only with a 
sword. He turned to look at the woman, their eyes met and 
they smiled at each other. 

"The wounded Bard managed to stave off the Romans while 
the woman went down to the river and put her wee baby girl 
into a little boat and pushed it away from the riverbank. 

"With one last great effort of will-power, the bleeding Bard 
threw down his weapon at the woman's feet. She took up his 
sword, and fought for four hours straight with the legion- 
naires on the narrow path, preventing them from reaching 
the shore. Their strength became spent and they spelled each 
other off on the narrow path. 

"The Roman commanders looked on in silent astonish- 
ment, but could not understand how strong and experienced 
soldiers could not come close enough to even scratch the 
woman's body 

"For four bruising hours she fought the flood of Roman 
attackers. Then the woman's lungs gave out, dried up with 
dehydration as no liquid had touched her tongue, and drips of 
blood began oozing from her cracked, beautiful lips. 

"Slowly sinking to her knees, her strength waning all the 
while, she still managed one more faint smile in the direction 
of the little boat carrying away her wee Barda, a future song- 
stress, downstream with the current. And one more gleam 
of the word and its image which have been carried down 
through the millennia for the benefit of many living upon the 
Earth today 

"Man's being is not only in the flesh. Man's invisible feel- 
ings, aspirations and sensations are immeasurably sharper 
and greater than what can be discerned by the eye or ear. As 
in a mirror, they are but partially reflected in the visible mate- 
rial state. 

"The baby Barda grew into girlhood, and later became a 
woman and a mother. She lived on the Earth and sang. Her 



78 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

songs imparted to people only bright feelings and, like the all- 
healing Ray, helped them chase away the gloominess of the 
heart. Many of life's afflictions and deprivations tried to ex- 
tinguish the source of this Ray. The hidden forces of darkness 
tried to break through to it, but could not overcome the one 
obstacle in their way, the Bard and his wife who stood loom- 
ing before them on the narrow path. 

"Man's essence is not in the flesh, Vladimir. The Bard's 
bleeding body projected into eternity the smile of his soul's 
blessed light, reflecting the unseen essence of Man. 

'And the lungs of the young mother holding the sword gave 
out after a while, blood dripped, then poured from the cracks 
in her lips, which had caught the Bard's bright smile. 

'And now, Vladimir, believe in me. Understand and see! 
And you will hear the ring of the invisible sword of the Bard, 
beating back the attack of the dark and angry forces on the 
path to the hearts of his descendants today 

"Now, please pronounce the word Bard once again, 
Vladimir." 

"I can't. Not until I can say it with the proper meaning. 
Then I shall most certainly pronounce it." 

"Thank you for not attempting it, Vladimir." 

"Tell me, Anastasia — after all, you are able to tell. Who 
among those living today are the direct descendants of that 
nursing mother and the girl — the songstress Barda? Of the 
Bard-warrior who stood on the narrow path? Who can forget 
something as important as his ancestry?" 

"Tell me, Vladimir, why this question came to your 
thought." 

"I want to get a good look at that person or persons who 
have forgot such things. Those who do not remember where 
they came from. Those without feeling for the same." 

"Perhaps you want to make certain that you are not the one 
who is forgetting?" 



The ringing sword of the bard 79 

"Now what does that...? Never mind, Anastasia, I've got 
it now. You needn't give it another thought. Let each person 
figure it out for themselves." 

"Fine," she replied and fell silent, looking at me. 

And I too kept silent for a time, reflecting on the pictures 
Anastasia had painted, and then I asked her: 

"Why did you choose that particular word as an exam- 
ple?" 

"To show you how the images underlying it in the real 
world will soon take visible form. Guitar strings in swarms 
are now vibrating under the fingers of today's Russian bards. 
Even back when I was dreaming about it all in the taiga, these 
bards were the first to feel the images. Their hearts and their 
souls... 

'At first it was only in one of them that flared a flickering 
burning flame and the delicate resonance of a guitar string, 
but then the souls of others caught the rhythm and joined 
in. Soon their songs will be heard by many both near and far. 
These are the bards who will help us behold the new dawn. 
The dawn of enlightenment of human hearts and souls. You 
shall hear their songs. And these will be new songs, songs of 
the awakening dawn." 1 



Since this book was first published in 1997, Russian bards have written hun- 
dreds of songs inspired by Anastasia. Numerous song festivals have taken 
place throughout Russia, and multiple song albums have appeared. Many 
of the bards have become wanderers, travelling in groups of up to fifty sing- 
ers and giving free concerts all over Russia, spreading the message of light, 
happiness and the healing of the Earth. 



Chapter Eleven 



A sharp about-turn 



Returning to the ship after my three-day stay with Anasta- 
sia, it was some time before I was in a frame of mind to take 
charge of company business. At first I was unable either to 
decide on the ship's next destination or answer the many radi- 
ograms coming in from Novosibirsk. And the hired workers, 
and even some of my crew, apparently sensed my inattention 
to the daily routine and began stealing. They were arrested by 
the police from Surgut (the town where the ship was docked) 
working with my bodyguards, and detention papers were 
drawn up, but even this was not something I felt like delving 
into at the time. 

It's hard to say at the moment just why my talks with Anas- 
tasia had such a strong effect on me. 

Before this my firm had received many visits from rep- 
resentatives of all sorts of religious denominations. They 
claimed they wanted to do something good for society and al- 
ways asked for money Sometimes I would oblige just so they 
would go away, without looking too deeply into the cause they 
were collecting for. And what was the point of asking them 
more questions if the conversation always ended up with a 
request for money? 

In contrast to all these so-called 'religious' people, Anas- 
tasia never asked for money In any case, I couldn't even im- 
agine what I could give her. Outwardly it seemed she had 
nothing, and yet I gradually got the impression that she had 
everything. I gave orders for the ship to proceed full speed to 
Novosibirsk and holed myself away in my cabin to think. 



A sharp about-turn 8 1 

My more than ten years' experience in business and team- 
management had taught me a lot. The highs and lows I had 
gone through had given me the skills I needed to seek and find 
a way out of all sorts of tricky situations. This time, however, 
I felt I was at rock bottom. All the troubles imaginable came 
upon me simultaneously. The failure of the firm appeared 
imminent. One of the so-called 'well-wishers' had already 
started a rumour, now increasing in currency, that something 
had happened to me and that I was no longer capable of mak- 
ing sound business decisions. So, people concluded, it was 
sauve qui pent, every man for himself. And that's exactly what 
happened. Upon my return I saw how people were saving 
themselves. Even my relatives had their hand in it, pilfering 
what they could from the company "It's all going to go broke 
anyway!" they figured. 

There was just one small group of my long-time employees 
who had tried to withstand the onslaught. But after the ar- 
rival of the lead ship, upon seeing what kind of literature I 
had my nose into, even they became worried about my mental 
state. 

I myself had a perfectly clear and sober perspective on 
what was happening. I was fully aware that I was no longer 
in any position to manage this team effectively Even those I 
had earlier trusted as my tried and true supporters were now 
starting to cast doubt upon any decision I took. 

Even though I very much wanted to tell everyone who 
would listen about Anastasia, it hardly seemed possible to 
count on anybody's understanding. It might even land me in 
the loony bin. My family were already starting to talk about 
what kind of treatment I needed. 

Without saying so in so many words, those around me were 
demanding I get back down to earth and come up with a busi- 
ness plan, and a successful one at that. They dismissed my 
latest distraction as either madness or a nervous breakdown. 



82 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

I had really begun thinking about all sorts of things in this life 
of ours. 

"What's going on here?" I thought. "You hustle through 
one commercial operation and even earn big money, but 
where's the satisfaction? You immediately want more. And 
it's been going on like that for over ten years now! Where's 
the guarantee that this race won't last my whole life long with- 
out so much as a whiff of satisfaction?! One person gets upset 
because he doesn't have enough money for a bottle of vodka. 
A billionaire gets upset because he doesn't have enough for 
some major acquisition or another. Maybe it's not the amount 
of money that counts?" 

One morning two old acquaintances of mine — both en- 
trepreneurs in charge of big commercial firms — came to see 
me at my office. I started talking with them about setting up 
a commonwealth of pure-minded entrepreneurs, about the 
purpose and goals of our business activities. After all, I just 
had to share all this with somebody. They played along, nod- 
ding now and then in agreement. It was a long conversation, 
and I ended up thinking to myself: can it be that they actually 
grasped it? — they did spend a lot of time discussing it, after 
all! Later my driver told me: 

" Ydu know, Vladimir Nikolaevich, 1 they were asked to come 
and see you. By people concerned about your health. They 
wanted to know what you've been preoccupied with all this 
time, what's been on your mind. In short, to make sure you 
haven't lost your mind. They wanted to know whether they 
should call in a psychiatrist or simply wait and let it pass." 



Nikolaevich (most often pronounced ni-ka-LIE-yitch) — Vladimir Megre's 
patronymic (a middle name derived from one's father's first name). In 
Russian the combination of the first name and patronymic is the stan- 
dard polite form of address among business acquaintances, especially to 
a superior. 



A sharp about-turn 83 

'And what do you think of my mental state?" 

He fell silent for a while, and then said quietly: 

"For ten years your work's gone along just great. Many 
in the city have said you're a successful businessman. But 
now all your employees are afraid they may be left without a 
paycheque." 

It was only then I realised the extent of people's concern 
about me, and I said to the driver: 

"Turn the car around." 

I went back to the office. I called an emergency staff 
meeting. I appointed supervisors for the company's various 
activities and gave them full authority to act in my absence. I 
then told the driver to pick me up early the next morning and 
take me to the airport. Just as I was about to go through the 
boarding gate, he handed me something wrapped in a towel. 
It was warm. I asked: 

"What is it?" 

"Pirozhki.™ 

"So, you're giving me these out of compassion for a cra- 
zy person, eh?" 

"They're from my wife, Vladimir Nikolaevich. She couldn't 
sleep, and baked all night. She's never baked anything before, 
she's still a pretty young woman, but last night she plunged 
right in. She insisted I give them to you. She wrapped them 
in a towel — they're still warm. She says... you won't be back 
for awhile. If you come back at all... This is good-bye." 

'All right, then. Thank you very much." 

He resigned from the firm a few days later. 



"Pirozhki (pronouncedpee-rash-KEE) — Russian pastry with a filling, akin to 
Ukrainian pierogies. A quintessentially home-made dish, pirozhki are often 
the highlights of family gatherings and celebrations. A gift of pirozhki de- 
notes a loving attitude on the part of the giver. 



Chapter Twelve 



vmIiq sets the course? 



Seated on the airplane I closed my eyes. The plane's course 
was set with precision. It was headed for Moscow. The course 
of the rest of my life was still to be set. But I was thinking 
more about entrepreneurs. 

Many people today still tend to regard entrepreneurs as 
people who are constantly working out business deals, having 
amassed their initial capital by some illegal means and mul- 
tiplying it at the expense of those around them. Naturally, 
just as in any other segment of our society, there are entre- 
preneurs and then there are entrepreneurs. However, having 
been right at the centre of entrepreneurial life in our country 
from the very beginning of perestroika, I can tell you that the 
majority of the first wave of post-communist entrepreneurs 
made their initial capital by looking for unorthodox solutions 
for producing new merchandise or goods which had been in 
short supply, and finding more efficient ways of structuring 
manufacturing operations. 

It was a peculiar characteristic of Soviet and Russian en- 
trepreneurs to make money from scratch — i.e., starting 
with nothing, not even credit. After all, the first wave of 
entrepreneurs had no access to privatised factories that the 
next wave enjoyed. They had to fly by the seat of their pants 
and hope they would be lucky. And they did make money 
from scratch. By way of proof, let me cite an example from 
my own experience. 



Chapter Thirteen 



Money from scratcl 



Back before perestroika I was in charge of a small unit in a pho- 
tographic collective. It included lab technicians and a number 
of roving photographers. Everyone had both a salary and ad- 
ditional perks, which allowed us to make a fairly decent living 
for the time. Each member of our unit received a percentage 
of the total profits. Naturally we wanted more. But for that 
we had to find more clients. I managed to hit upon a solution. 
Anyone who wishes is free to copy it, even today. 

One day while I was travelling on a highway in my hump- 
backed Zaporozhets 1 1 got a tyre puncture. While getting the 
tyre repaired I watched the cars passing by one after another 
and thought to myself: "If only we could give all these driv- 
ers a chance to have their photo taken, there would be huge 
profits to be made!" 

It took but a few minutes to formulate a plan of action in 
my head — a plan whose realisation in practice would soon 
quadruple our unit's profits. It worked this way: one of our 
photographers would stand at the side of the highway with 
a camera. He had two assistants with green armbands bear- 
ing the SB 2 insignia and brandishing batons like those used 

Zaporozhets — a popular and (relatively) inexpensive car manufactured dur- 
ing the Soviet period in the Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye. Its small size, 
low power, old-fashioned design and proclivity to break-downs have given 
it a reputation as an "inferior" vehicle, and both the car and its owners have 
become the butt of numerous jokes. 

~SB — Initials for Sluzhba byta, the common designation for service indus- 
tries in Russia. 



86 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

by the traffic police. Motorists would stop, thinking it was 
the "Green" or some other patrol. 3 Upon learning that it was 
simply a photo service being offered and that nobody was 
about to pounce on them or fine them or inspect their vehi- 
cle, drivers were happy to stand in front of their car (next to 
the licence plate) and have their picture taken. They gave the 
addresses where they would like the photos to be sent C.O.D. 
The licence-plate had to be showing just in case there was a 
mix-up in the addresses. 

We ended up offering this service on all the major highways 
leading to Novosibirsk over a six-month period. Then more 
and more we started encountering motorists who had already 
used the service. But during these six months our unit man- 
aged to realise a fairly decent income. 

Later I thought of starting a photo campaign to take pic- 
tures of residential houses, adding postcard phrases like "I 
live here", "Home sweet home", etc. 

People from our unit took pictures of thousands of houses. 
The demand turned out to be enormous. It got so that the 
photographers didn't bother asking which residents wanted 
it — they would simply walk along and take pictures of every 
house on the street. A few days later the postal service would 
deliver the photos to each dwelling and collect payment. Peo- 
ple would send these snapshots to their children. Many said 
the pictures inspired the kids to come home for a visit. 

Before long the collective started having problems paying 
the members of our unit their salaries which, in the opinion 
of the management of the day, had exceeded all reasonable 
bounds. But there was little they could do about it, since eve- 
ryone in the collective was entitled to an equal share of their 
unit's profits. 

" ] Green patrol — referring to teams of environmental control officers, set 
up to help abate air pollution in Russia's largest cities, and responsible for 
checking automobiles' exhaust emissions (CO, C0 7 , CH, NO etc.). 



Money from scratch 87 

During the early days of ' perestroika, our unit detached itself 
from the collective and formed an independent co-operative. 
I was chosen its first chairman. 

This way we enjoyed greater freedom of movement. We 
had the opportunity to gather some seed money together and 
expand the scope of our operations. I began to think about 
new ventures to increase company profits. 

One day I happened to have a conversation with an ac- 
quaintance of mine who worked at the Institute of Theoreti- 
cal and Applied Mechanics. He was complaining that wages 
were being delayed or not paid at all, and that the lab unit 
was being threatened with dissolution. Where could they 
go, what could they do? They weren't needed by anyone, it 
seemed. 

"What did your lab do before?" I asked him. 

"We made thermal gauge tape. Nobody needs it any- 
more." 

"What was it used for?" 

'All sorts of things," he replied. He took a piece of a black 
tape out of his pocket and handed it to me." 

"See for yourself," he said. 

I took the piece in my hand, and all at once it turned green 
as I fingered it. I even threw it on the ground. 

"What kind of junk is that? It turns green! Now I've got to 
wash my hands," I told him. To which he replied: 

"Don't worry, it simply changed colour from the warmth of 
your hand. It's supposed to react to changes in temperature. 
If the temperature of your hands had been above normal, it 
would have turned red. The green colour indicates a normal 
temperature." 

The concept took off quickly. Our company began pro- 
ducing flat thermometers and stress-indicators. 

A piece of the tape was stuck onto a sheet of cardboard 
with bright coloured squares, each with a number beside it 



88 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

indicating degrees of temperature, and, presto! — a new prod- 
uct was born. We had it distributed through the state ware- 
housing agency to many regions of the old Soviet Union (this 
was before the collapse of the USSR in 1991). 

Our production staff increased and everyone made a fairly 
decent living. Our seed capital was growing. The lab also 
came out of the red, since a share of the profits accrued to 
the Institute. 

Our co-operative acquired new equipment along with two 
vehicles. And then something happened which gave us an in- 
credible boost. 

One afternoon I arrived at the company office and noticed 
both our telephones in use. My secretary was on one of them, 
listening and taking down notes. The other telephone was 
being manned by the cleaning lady No sooner had one of the 
phones been hung up than it started ringing again. At one 
point my secretary managed to tell me: 

"They've been ringing off the hook for over two hours 
already! One call after another non-stop! Everybody's ask- 
ing for our thermometers and stress-indicators. One fellow 
cursed us, calling us pre-perestroika dimwits. If we were will- 
ing to raise our prices, he said, he would buy them from us 
wholesale — at the higher price. They're all placing bulk or- 
ders. They're even ready to give us advance deposits." 

During the early days of perestroika in our country, if you 
remember, there was quite a proliferation of manufactured 
kitsch on the market — plastic clip-on earrings, posters and 
calendars featuring semi-nude girls. Everyone snapped these 
things up like crazy 

Against that background what we produced looked like a su- 
per novelty But after six months of production, sales suddenly 
took off with a bang. Something had happened, but what? 

It turned out that on a TV broadcast the previous 
night, foreign-affairs correspondent Vladimir Tsvetov was 



Money from scratch 89 

commenting on how innovative the Japanese were, and 
showed a Japanese stress-indicator as an example. It looked 
just like ours. It was then that I realised for the first time the 
power of advertising and the nature of this beast called luck! 
Our staff began working three shifts a day round the clock. 
We hired workers to do the packing, trimming and finishing 
in their own homes. Profits steadily increased. We acquired 
a small passenger ship. I also decided to manufacture seeding 
equipment for independent farmers. I even chartered a large 
cruise ship to organise business tours and trade expeditions 
to the regions of the Russian Far North. 



Chapter Fourteen 



A destructive force 



As head of my very own co-operative I got to know first-hand 
what a destructive force — one capable of crushing any ma- 
terial state of well-being — impatience toward each other 
and the break-down of mutual understanding can be. Later I 
learnt that this is the very reason behind the failure of many 
collectives. And it can all start over a trifle. 

Indeed, that's how it happened with my first co-operative. 
Not only was it torn apart itself, but several families were de- 
stroyed in the process. Even today I still don't know how to 
counteract this force which erupts spontaneously and is not 
subject to common sense! 

It all began when I decided to procure for our firm a country 
house with its own estate. I entrusted the details to our act- 
ing inventory and supply manager Alexey Mishunin. He drew 
up all the necessary sale-purchase documents, while I went to 
take a look at the property It included a large house, a fifth 
of a hectare of land, a bath-house, garage and greenhouse. We 
even got a cow and a flock of sheep in the bargain — not ex- 
actly a priority, but Mishunin said the owners had to go away 
and wanted to sell everything all at once. There was feed for 
the cow, and he had already arranged for a woman from the 
village to come in and do the milking. 

A couple of days later I called a meeting of the members 
of the co-operative to tell them about our acquisition. I ex- 
plained it was intended for entertaining guests, as well as be- 
ing a place where the members of the co-operative could relax 
and celebrate special occasions. We would all have to work 



A destructive force 91 

together to fix up the place, do some renovations and mod- 
ernise the kitchen. 

The male half of the co-operative greeted the idea with 
great enthusiasm. But the women began whispering among 
themselves. It wasn't clear who the ringleader was, but my 
wife took on the role of spokesperson, saying the men had 
overstepped all recognised bounds of decency in respect to 
the women. 

"We work with you as equals here," she declared. 'After 
that we go home every day and clean house, cook meals and 
take care of the children. Does that seem trifling to you? And 
now you want us, in addition to all that, to work our asses off 
at this country house of yours, do renovations, and then be 
cooks and waitresses for your receptions and drinking par- 
ties?!" 

That was when all hell broke loose. The women poured 
out on the men all their personal and family grievances and 
other pet peeves. I realised this when one of them cried out: 

'All you do is fool around with dominoes and stare at the 
tube the whole evening long!" 

I knew that none of the men at the co-operative played 
dominoes. It was her husband, a firefighter, who played. He 
didn't even work for us. But wives of the co-operative work- 
ers were especially 'pissed off. One of them stupidly blurted 
out to her husband in front of everyone: 

"You always smell of sweat and cheap cigarettes," — he was 
especially fond of the Prima brand — "and now you're going 
to be smelling of cow-dung too?!" 

A silence hung over the room. The husband took a deep 
gulp of air, blushed and retorted: 

"I shall especially smell of cow-dung. Especially so that 
you won't come near me, you slut!" 

At this she burst into tears. The women gathered around to 
console her. And it made them even more 'pissed off. They 



92 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

started hurling all sorts of insults. One of our workers was 
named Zhenya Kolpakov — he'd invented all sorts of devices 
to increase productivity, and could fix anything that needed 
fixing. But now they told him: 

"We have inventors here, but it takes a whole year to clean 
up after them!" 

Then the discussion turned to politics: 

"Gorbachev goes on television, but it's Raisa Maximovna 1 
who makes all the decisions." 

I declared a recess. I thought everyone somehow might 
come to their senses. After the break they all took their seats 
again, the outward restraint barely masking the inner tension. 
Once again my wife spoke in the name of the women. With a 
contrived tranquillity she threw out a venomous ultimatum: 

"Of course, if you really want a country residence, go ahead, 
but not one of us women will step foot in it. In other words, 
it'll be yours alone. And since we share our funds in common 
and you have no right to spend them without our consent, 
as compensation we demand you give us one of the company 
cars with a driver, specially for our household use. We'll take 
turns using it." 

"Great," came a chorus of male voices, "go ahead and choke 
yourselves! We'll give you anything you like as long as you 
promise not to show up there!" 

"They're bound to find some farm hussies out there," one 
of the women observed. 

"Let them look," retorted another. "Those hussies'll soon 
make themselves scarce. Who needs them?" 



Raisa Maximovna Gorbacheva {nee Titorenko; 1932-1999) — wife of the last 
Soviet leader (General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of 
the USSR) Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev (1931-). In contrast to the wives of 
Gorbachev's predecessors, Raisa Maximovna played an active role in the 
political life of the Soviet Union and was rumoured to 'run the country' 
from behind her husband's back. 



A destructive force 93 

None of the men whose wives worked at the co-operative 
went home that night. It was Friday, and we headed out to 
our 'hacienda'. 

We took a good look around, and started making plans for 
settling in. The next day we heated up the bath-house. At 
Mishunin's request the village woman came to milk the cow. 
We watched how she did it. It was a pleasant time. The cow 
was quiet, not restless. She was ours now. The woman ad- 
vised that she wouldn't always be able to come to do the milk- 
ing. We'd need to look up somebody else. 

After an early-evening cleansing at the bath-house, we 
cooked ourselves supper. It turned out we had quite a feast! 
Mishunin fried some fish. We put out bottles of beer and vod- 
ka, and sat down at the table. And all at once: "Moo-0-00!" 

It was the cow. We got up and headed for the barn. It was 
milking time, and there was no milkmaid around. We stood 
there — eight men — in front of the cow and had no idea 
what to do. 

In any case, who can explain what sometimes happens to 
people at the sight of an animal? You live your life day after 
day without the slightest thought for non-human creatures. 
And then all at once you find yourself in a situation where one 
of them's in your home: a cat, or a dog, or some other animal, 
and you find you have the same kind of feelings come over you 
that you'd have in the presence of a child. You're nervous, you 
worry Why is that? Maybe it's really true that the first man, 
Adam, when God gave him the job of naming all the creatures, 
looked upon each one with love, and this love is something 
we've all inherited — it hides for the most part deep down 
inside us and makes an appearance only from time to time. 
Nobody can say for certain whether that's true or not. Only 
each one of us, I'm telling you, had some sort of feeling for that 
cow, and I'm positive it felt something for us, too. 

And this is what came out of it. Seryozha Khodokov said: 



94 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"The milk's likely bursting her udder. We've got to do 
something." 

We started in pestering Mishunin. Why on earth, we said, 
did you buy a cow? And yet at the same time we felt bad about 
selling it — it had only been one day but we had somehow 
taken to it like one of our own. 

The cow looked at us with her sorrowful eyes, silently. 
Then she stretched her head out toward me and let out a loud 
"Moo-0-00!" She was mooing so pleadingly, and I told Mis- 
hunin: 

"Better get to the milking right away, since you were the 
one who bought her!" 

Mishunin quickly fetched the milk-pail, tied the kerchief 
around his head (the kerchief the milkmaid had left behind), 
and climbed into the cow's stall. He asked us not to leave, as 
God knows what this cow might do. She let him approach 
and start milking her. We brought the cow some water to 
drink, put fresh hay into her stall and gave her some bread. 

Mishunin went on milking. At first he wasn't very success- 
ful — only very thin streams of milk came out and even they 
sometimes missed the pail, but then it got a little better. Af- 
ter fifteen minutes the milk was still coming. Mishunin said, 
whispering for some reason: 

"Sweat. My sweat's getting in the way." 

"We gathered up handkerchiefs from whoever had them, 
and Seryozha Khodokov climbed into the stall to wipe the 
perspiration from Alexey's forehead. He squatted down be- 
side him to see how the milking was going, from time to time 
wiping the sweat from Alexey's face. And suddenly we could 
hear Seryozha's agitated whisper: 

"What are you doing? You're hurting her! You've got a 
good stream coming from your right hand, but only a third of 
that from your left. You can permanently damage her udder 
that way" 



A destructive force 95 

"It's my fingers," Mishunin whispered. "It's 'cause my fin- 
gers have gone numb on my left hand. Maybe you'd better 
help." 

Seryozha Khodokov approached the cow from the other 
side and they began milking together simultaneously 

After half an hour, maybe more, they had milked a whole 
pailful. 

That night at supper we drank fresh milk, and I swear it 
was the best-tasting milk we'd ever had in our lives. 

Early the next morning we were awakened by the milkmaid, 
who told us with some astonishment that she had tried milk- 
ing the cow that morning, but for some unknown reason the 
cow wouldn't let her anywhere close to her. 

Once again we trotted off to the barn. We did everything 
just the way we had the night before, and the cow started 
milking. 

"Well ain't that the limit!" exclaimed the woman. "Since 
the cow seems to like you so much, you can milk her from now 
on. Happens that way, y'know A cow can let some people 
come close, but others she jolly well won't." 

Our cow, it turned out, was quite picky. Not only did she 
not let any of the hired milkmaids near her, whenever she was 
milked she demanded that one of us stand by her muzzle and 
feed her, and talk to her, while the milking had to be a joint 
effort on the part of two men together. That meant three 
of us had to go for each milking session. So that's how we 
drew up the schedule — three at a time. At least until we sold 
the cow, we thought. But it wasn't long before the rumours 
about our picky cow began flying around. Buyers would come 
and try milking her themselves, and nothing happened. And 
they'd refuse to take her, even for a pittance. Granted, I did 
make one condition — that she wasn't to be slaughtered 
for meat. 



96 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

We called in a veterinarian, and he told us: 

"That does happen, fellows. An animal gets used to some- 
one, and may reject others for a long time. But tell me, what 
on earth possessed you to domesticate her that way?" 

He didn't have any real advice to offer us, apart from tell- 
ing us that our cow was calving — meaning she was pregnant. 
When the time came we would have to prepare for the birth- 
ing. The vet indicated the approximate date. We would know 
when the time was near when she stopped giving milk. 

Since the men were obliged to keep watch three at once, 
we ended up spending a lot of time at our 'hacienda' — even 
staying overnight there. 

Our wives had a hard time accepting that we were really 
having problems with the cow, since they had sworn never to 
set foot in our 'hacienda' themselves, and looked upon this 
whole story of the cow as a convenient excuse. The wom- 
en and wives working at the co-operative completely lost all 
sense of self-control. They started telling obscene jokes. The 
one who complained about her husband's bad smell said: 

"Only a sexual pervert could attract such a perverted cow!" 

To which he retorted: 

"I'd rather spend my whole life milking a silent cow than 
listening to your dumb remarks." 

Soon afterward he moved out completely to live in the 'haci- 
enda' and later got a divorce from his wife. He married a young 
country girl with a child and became quite a decent farmer. 

Then the day came when the cow stopped giving milk. On 
the vet's advice we got everything ready for the birthing. But 
the cow gave birth all by herself and without incident. She 
bore a little bull-calf. A handsome son-of-a-gun. When we 
called the vet, he took one look at the pair and said: 

"Well, that's great! Nothing more to be done here. She's 
taken care of it all by herself. Just keep the place clean. Make 
sure she's well fed." 



A destructive force 97 

Some time later we managed to find a good home for both 
the cow and her bull-calf. One day we went over to see what 
a handsome creature he'd turned into, our little bull. And 
everything was arranged nicely for his mother. Even now I 
still think of her. I wonder whether she remembers us. But 
while we got things settled for the cow, we didn't manage to 
restore a sense of harmony and mutual understanding in the 
co-operative. 

So I ended up dividing the co-operative in two, reorganis- 
ing part of it under a different name. I began using the char- 
tered ship to make long trading voyages to the North along 
the River Ob. In between such voyages I conducted business 
cruises for Russian and foreign entrepreneurs. 

I took the lesson home that one indispensable condition of 
success, among others, is a sense of mutual understanding and 
respect in a collective. You must have faith not only in your 
own abilities but in everyone's. Any kind of ability you have is 
multiplied by your faith in the people around you. 



Chapter Fifteen 



erbalife 9 entrepreneurs 



It was only upon arriving at Moscow's Vnukovo airport that 
I realised my funds were rather low — I had only 5 million 
roubles (Si, 000) left, and I did not even have a specific plan 
of action. It was hardly likely that either my employees or 
my family would be able to cope with my accumulated debts; 
they would have to sell the company's assets, meaning I could 
not look to home for any assistance. Had I remained in Nov- 
osibirsk, of course, I could have worked things out. But that 
would have meant concentrating all my attention on the daily 
affairs of my business — something that was impossible after 
what had happened in the taiga and the promises I had made 
both to Anastasia and to myself. 

Indeed, by this time it was hard to determine whether my 
actions were being guided by my own awareness and desire or 
byAnastasia's influence. 

One thing was crystal clear: I was bankrupt. Having wit- 
nessed countless similar situations among my colleagues, I 
knew there was nobody I could turn to — either friends, rela- 
tives, or former employees. They would all avoid you like the 
plague. You can spend ten years of your life being a hero and 
then just one little mistake can put you in the doghouse and 
make you a non-person, despised by everyone you know. It's 
happened to a lot of prominent entrepreneurs. In a situation 
like this you can only hope in yourself and your own ability to 
find a way out of a dead-end predicament. 

After leaving my bag (containing a sweater, some shirts and 
a few other trifles) at a hotel, I started tramping around the 



'Herbalife' entrepreneurs 99 

streets of Moscow. I tried figuring out what it all meant — 
everything Anastasia had said about Russia's entrepreneurs. 

The first thing that struck my eye in Moscow this time was 
the activity of the so-called 'Herbalifers'. 

Neatly dressed people stood in the tunnels leading to met- 
ro 1 stations in the city centre, haranguing passers-by with job 
offers. "With a foreign firm," as they said. They were lur- 
ing them with promises of huge earnings and opportunity for 
promotion. The word Herbalife wasn't even mentioned — 
probably because almost every classified advertisement in 
the papers posted by a job-seeker ended with the words: "No 
Herbalife offers." 

Still they stood there, wearing "Work for you" buttons and 
handing out flyers from some foreign firm, stubbornly urg- 
ing people to at least come for an interview. Later I learnt 
that those responding were subjected to intense psychologi- 
cal conditioning, with special emphasis on two points dear to 
the heart of the average Russian. 

First, seminar speakers would make a big thing of telling 
how they or their relatives, for example, received a fantastic 
healing with the help of this 'Herbalife' from overseas, with 
the implication that any potential distributor could also en- 
gage in the noble practice of treating people's ailments. The 
system was so miraculous, they declared, that no medical 
courses were needed, just two or three training sessions, even 
if you were a simple painter or plasterer, and, presto, you are 
qualified to act as a consultant to ailing consumers. 

Secondly, they made a point of telling stories with examples 
of how one could get rich through promoting and distributing 
'Herbalife' products. This meant buying at least one package 
for starters (with your own money), then finding someone 



metro — i.e., the Metropolitan, referring to the underground or subway sys- 
tem operating in Moscow and many other Russian cities. 



ioo Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

else and convincing him in a one-on-one conversation of the 
fantastic benefits of using 'Herbalife', then selling it to him at 
a slightly higher price. At the same time you needed to keep 
recruiting more distributors, getting a percentage from each 
new recruit. The more recruits you attracted, the higher you 
would rise in the hierarchy and the more money would accrue 
to you. You would reach a point where you yourself wouldn't 
have to do any of the actual distribution work. 

As an entrepreneur, I soon realised one thing very clearly: 
money did come showering down in a rain of gold, but only 
for the person at the very top of this pyramidal system and his 
closest collaborators. The whole long chain of distributors, 
divided into so-called levels, survived only thanks to each lev- 
el benefiting from its own price mark-up, and it was all paid 
for by the one at the very bottom — the consumer who be- 
lieved in the miracle properties of the product. 

In some cases the price increased by twelve times!! The 
actual distribution keeps rolling along non-stop, thanks to 
the huge number of agents using their own accounts of heal- 
ing to win the trust of their fellow-Russians and make them 
believe in the miracle properties of 'Herbalife'. A system like 
this is capable of selling even the ashes from one's stove. Any 
complainers are simply told that they have somehow misun- 
derstood the instructions on the label or not followed them 
closely enough. 

This system is especially effective in our country, where 
people are accustomed to getting the most reliable infor- 
mation from trusted friends and acquaintances rather than 
through official channels. 

There is no point whatsoever in discussing the advantages 
or disadvantages of the 'Herbalife' products themselves. That 
is a long story I can say only one thing with absolute certain- 
ty: all the fervour of the distributors telling about their own 
healings disappears as soon as they realise they're not going 



'Herbalife' entrepreneurs i o i 

to get any money from you. In that case you'll start hearing a 
whole string of counter-examples, such as "It's nothing but a 
load of crap!" 

This distribution system was invented in the West. Man- 
aged from the West, it lures in all sorts of unemployed Rus- 
sians. But these are not our entrepreneurs. And now I shall 
tell you of yet another gimmick invented by Western busi- 
nessmen. 



Chapter Sixteen 



Tee holidays In Hawaii 



If you should be stopped on a crowded Moscow street by 
smartly dressed young people (some of whom speak with an 
accent) inviting you to a presentation by a foreign firm with 
your own reserved table and free lottery tickets, offering you 
the opportunity to win a gold watch or even a free trip to Ha- 
waii, you can be sure that you will be guaranteed a free trip. 
But it is best to bear in mind the old saying: "The only free 
cheese is in a mousetrap." 

It's not hard to figure out just how this particular mousetrap 
works. 

What you get 'for free' is the opportunity to stay in elegant 
lodgings. Upon arriving you discover that they really do look 
like the photos in the brochures. The catch is, you have to 
pay for the airline ticket, your food and all the 'incidentals'. 

A few days into your stay you realise that this 'free' vaca- 
tion is ending up costing you quite a bit more than the full 
price of a stay at some other comparable resort. It's all very 
simple: your 'free stay' is paid for by a host of surcharges on 
a range of food and other services. These surcharges cover, 
by the way, the agents standing on the street-corners and the 
so-called 'free' presentation, the colour brochures they hand 
you, not to mention the company's profit. 

Of course, for those with lots of money to spare, it doesn't 
make too much difference. The only bad thing you might feel 
is the unpleasant sensation of being made a fool of. It is quite 
a different matter when an average Russian wage-earner of 
modest means, one who has spent a whole year saving for such 



Free holidays in Hawaii 103 

a trip, takes the bait and, instead of going to see his mother or 
for a holiday at a Russian resort, hands over his hard-earned 
savings to these foreign smart-asses and like a fool spends two 
weeks in lodgings designed for fools like him. 

Gentlemen from abroad, where did this attitude of disre- 
spect for us Russians come from? As I was looking at the sales 
kiosks on our streets filled with imported goods, even import- 
ed bottled water, I remembered how it had been the same way 
on my ships, but back then I had never really thought about 
what was behind it. I was listening to radio reports about the 
suspicious quality of the chicken legs on sale all over the coun- 
try, as well as about bottled water with fancy labels promoting 
its healing mineral properties, belying the fact that this stuff, 
sold in our stores, was simply tap water with suspicious ad- 
ditives. I was noticing the huge number of signs advertising 
how you could refresh your strength with a 'hot dog', as if all 
of Moscow and even all of Russia had suddenly made these 
rubber sausages their national dish, and wondering why this 
had never struck me before as it did now. 

I remembered the respect and enthusiasm with which we'd 
greeted visiting entrepreneurs from abroad at the beginning 
ofperestroika. I remembered how I'd organised business cruis- 
es down the River Ob for them on my ship, and how the Sibe- 
rian entrepreneurs tried as hard as they could to provide them 
with the highest-quality service. Of course not all the visitors 
were the same, but what did we gain in the long term? 

So, where are you, entrepreneurs of Russia? The ones that 
should be making our country flourish?! 



Chapter Seventeen 



The beginning of perestroika 



At the very beginning of perestroika, when the first law on co- 
operatives in the USSR was enacted, many saw it as a call to 
action. And a lot of young people, as well as many not so young 
but invariably fall of energy and desire to really do something 
for themselves and their country, literally threw themselves 
into the fray And immediately found themselves surrounded 
by a hostile, pestering crowd. 

"Down with them!" the crowd shouted. "Bourgeois smart- 
asses! What did we fight for, anyway?" 

And even though many of Russia's pioneer entrepreneurs 
ended up working round the clock, pouring in a colossal amount 
of energy, not to mention their unique wit and inventiveness, 
hardly any of their efforts met with so much as a 'thank you'. 
The modicum of support they required was usually provided 
only by intercommunication and interaction with each other. 

Then a concept was born — it literally came out of thin 
air — the idea of creating a Union of USSR Co-operators. I 
was part of the pilot group initiating the project, along with 
the well-known Russian entrepreneur ArtemTarasov. 1 

Artem {pronounced: art^TOM] Mikhailovich Tarasov (1950-) — a promi- 
nent Russian entrepreneur, one of the first Soviet 'co-operators'. An engi- 
neer by profession, in 1989 he proclaimed himself the first legal millionaire 
in the USSR, and the following year he was elected as a deputy of Russia's 
Supreme Soviet (nominal Parliament). He founded dozens of business ven- 
tures, including Russia's leading business newspaper Kommersant and the 
Transaero airline. After years of suppression by the state, Tarasov emigrated 
to London. In 2004 he published a book of memoirs entitled The million- 
aire, exposing the corruption of Russia's ruling elite. 



The beginning ofperestroika 105 

Most of us at the time were Communists. At the first en- 
trepreneurs' congress I was elected secretary of the congress's 
Party Committee. I tried to explain to our overseer from the 
Communist Party Central Committee, Comrade Kolosovsky 
that it was incredibly difficult for entrepreneurs to work un- 
der such pestering. We needed first and foremost the Party's 
moral support. But I soon realised that we were going to be 
facing hostility and pestering from a segment of the ordinary 
public, as well as high- and low-ranking officials, for a long 
time to come. We could not look to the higher echelons of 
the Central Committee for any outward show of support, 
since they were afraid of losing popularity — already their 
power was greatly diminished compared to the heyday of So- 
viet communism. An internal struggle had apparently begun 
and was now in full swing. 

In addition, entrepreneurs had begun to feel mounting 
pressure from a tax squeeze. And today, with maybe one or 
two exceptions, not a single business can keep afloat if it duti- 
fully pays all the required taxes. Realising this, many of them 
have managed to escape the tax squeeze by using all sorts of 
tricky loop-holes. But in doing this they have landed them- 
selves in an even more precarious situation — being outside 
the law. Attempt after attempt to make officials on various 
levels see the absurdity of the prevailing tax system have not 
exactly been crowned with success. Indeed, they could not 
be, since the ones who initiated the system (and this is my 
own personal assumption) understand better than anyone else 
the impossibility of paying all the taxes, but this was exactly 
what they needed. Needed for what? For power, of course! 
For extortion! 

One false step and you can be instantly ground to powder, 
outlawed by tax police and inspectors. 

I felt sorry for the first entrepreneurs ofperestroika, as well 
as for Russia's current crop of businessmen. I decided to do for 



106 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

them whatever lay within my powers. I went to the League of 
Russian Co-operators and Entrepreneurs, originally headed 
by Vladimir Alexandrovich Tikhonov, 2 whom we had elected 
to the post in perestroika's early days. The League's executive 
Presidium still maintained a headquarters, but many of the 
offices were empty. Vladimir Alexandrovich had died a year 
and a half earlier. I was told that the Chairman of the Russian 
Business Round Table, Ivan Kivilidi, 3 had been poisoned, to- 
gether with his secretary, just six months ago. Artem Tarasov 
had resigned from the League, and the organisation's mem- 
bership was only a shadow of its former self. 

Thanks to my acquaintance with one of three remaining 
League executives, my request for space in one of the empty 
offices was granted, along with two telephones, a computer 
and a fax machine. Since the League had no organisational 
funds available, I was pretty much on my own. To save time 
and hotel expenses, I used the office for my sleeping quarters 
as well. I was awakened every morning at six o'clock by the 
arrival of the cleaning lady, and the absence of a TV allowed 
me to work most evenings right up 'til midnight. This sudden 
shift in living conditions — from a luxury ship's cabin (where 
anything I wanted to eat or drink was only a bell ring away) to 
a drab office not designed for living accommodation — in no 
way embarrassed me. In many respects it actually afforded 
me greater opportunities to pursue my work. 

2 Vladimir Alexandrovich Tikhonov (1927-1994) — academician of the Lenin 
Agricultural Academy and co-author of the innovative legislation on Rus- 
sian co-operatives mentioned above. 

3 Ivan Kharlampievich Kivilidi (1949-1995) — an entrepreneur of Greek de- 
scent, at one time said to be the richest man in Russia. Kivilidi was an out- 
spoken advocate of political and economic reform. In 1993 he founded an 
influential "Russian Business Round Table" to forward the interests of Rus- 
sian entrepreneurial elite in the political arena. The poison which killed 
him and his secretary was delivered by a breath-activated substance placed 
in his office telephone receivers. 



The beginning ofperestroika 107 

I spent my time thinking out and drafting a constitution 
for a Fellowship of Entrepreneurs, along with compiling let- 
ters of appeal — these I sent out by fax in the early hours of 
the morning, when the communication lines weren't as busy 
By hook or by crook, making use of both newspaper adverts 
and chance encounters, I gathered together a secretariat of 
various Moscow professionals who shared my enthusiasm for 
the project and realised its significance. 

The secretariat also included three Moscow university 
students. First there came Anton Nikolaikin, who had been 
called in to fix a broken computer. Later, after learning of our 
work on organising the Fellowship, he brought along two of 
his friends, Artem Semenov and Alexey Novichkov They im- 
mediately began work on encoding the electronic version of 
the Golden Catalogue of Russia, 4 for which they were able to put 
together a highly professional computer programme. 



4 Golden Catalogue of Russia (in Russian: Zolotoi katalog Rossii) — a reference 
to the Fellowship's proposed directory of member enterprises. 



Chapter Eighteen 



'snip 01 

entrepreneurs 



The idea of a Fellowship meant that it would be open to any 
entrepreneurs who had been active in the Russian market for 
at least a year, and were sincerely striving to develop honest 
relationships not only with each other but with their clients 
and employees. Representatives of various non-profit socie- 
ties tried to persuade me that today's entrepreneurs were cool 
to the idea of any form of organisation, that the age of faith- 
based euphoria had passed, and that membership in societies 
one could join simply by paying a modest fee had diminished 
catastrophically They argued, furthermore, that the idea of 
organising a Fellowship with additional requirements involv- 
ing the ethical standards of both the entrepreneur and the 
enterprise was simply absurd. 

My old friend ArtemTarasov, having heard about my arrival 
in Moscow and what I was up to, came to one of the 'round ta- 
bles'. He set to work on drafting documents, including an ap- 
peal to entrepreneurs. He laid out several thousands of dollars 
so I could make up glossy brochures to give out to delegates at 
a small-business congress 1 being organised in Moscow. 

small-business congress — a reference to the First Ail-Russian Congress of 
Small Business Representatives held on 19-21 February 1996 in the pres- 
tigious Kremlin Palace of Congresses in Moscow. This high-profile event, 
organised by several government agencies and the Chamber of Commerce 
of the Russian Federation, featured an address by Russian president Bo- 
ris Yeltsin. To the entrepreneurs' disappointment, however, many of the 
promises of government support to small business voiced during the con- 
gress were never fulfilled. 



Fellowship of Russian entrepreneurs 109 

But the congress organisers decided not to allow any bro- 
chures on the Fellowship to be handed out, no doubt fearing 
competition from us. As a result, secretarial staff and stu- 
dents positioned themselves just outside the entrances to the 
Rossiya Hotel, 2 trying to hand delegates folders containing 
the brochures. They stood there withstanding both the cold 
and attempts to chase them away by the militia, who thought 
some kind of illegal selling might be taking place. Artem 
Tarasov still managed to take a package of brochures into the 
Kremlin Palace of Congresses, where the congress was being 
held — though, unfortunately, only a rather small quantity 

The operation we had placed so many of our hopes on end- 
ed in failure. Organising the Fellowship was proving to be an 
impossibility The difficulty was that getting the necessary 
information out to all the entrepreneurs across the country 
required a huge outlay of roubles on printing and postage 
costs, since favourable responses were coming in from only 
ten percent of the people we managed to reach. The required 
funds were simply not available. 

Besides, the League executive kept back a portion of the 
membership fees as office-space rent, as they had no other 
source of funds. Sensing some sort of snag, the League 
stopped giving out money for organisational expenses alto- 
gether, in spite of the fact that the membership fees had been 
specifically earmarked for organisational expenses. 

The League needed to use the entrepreneurs' membership 
fees just to cover operating costs, they explained. Then they 
began holding back wage payments for the secretarial staff. I 
was obliged to vacate the League's premises, leaving behind 
my second computer which had been purchased with funds 
from the entrepreneurs who had joined the Fellowship. 



Rossiya Hotel — a large hotel complex in downtown Moscow, across from 
the Kremlin and Red Square, overlooking the Moskva River. 



no Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"How come?" queried the students in bewilderment — stu- 
dents who had spent hours working out computer programmes 
at their own expense. "We've been doing the work which this 
non-profit organisation, according to its own constitution, is 
supposed to carry out, and here they're treating us like ten- 
ants, and spitting on the entrepreneurs in the process." 

The League executive argued: "The office rent must be 
paid." 

With what was left of the secretarial staff, I tried to carry 
on the work out of one of the entrepreneurial trades union 
offices, but the same situation repeated itself there. 

After getting to know the leaders of several non-profit or- 
ganisations, I suddenly realised that they all had titles, but 
no membership, something like the so-called 'sofa parties', 3 
existing only for the benefit of their executives. While this 
was not true of the Farmers and Peasants Association, headed 
by Vladimir Bashmachnikov (and there may be other excep- 
tions), this was the general state of affairs at the time. 

Even today there is no non-profit organisation in Russia 
bringing together any significant number of entrepreneurs, 
and those that do exist are of the 'sofa party' variety Why? 
Among the possible causes I would include the anonymity of 
membership fees. 

For some reason it always happens that once an executive 
body is created, it starts making decisions on behalf of entre- 
preneurs without consulting the majority 

Walking away from the trades-union office, I now found 
myself without any means of communication and without an- 
ything to live on. Artem Tarasov had by this time emigrated 
to London. He had tried to get himself on the ballot for the 

^ sofa parties (in Russian: divannye partii) — political parties (or non-profit so- 
cieties) with the trappings of a registered organisation, but created merely 
to advance the interests of one individual or a small group. 



Fellowship of Russian entrepreneurs in 

Russian presidency and had spent billions of roubles collect- 
ing the required signatures, but when the Central Election 
Committee invalidated most of those signatures, Artem was 
obliged to look after repairing his own financial affairs. 

The local residents working in the secretariat, not receiv- 
ing any pay, were obliged to quit. 

I was left all alone. Or rather, I thought I had been left all 
alone. But three Moscow students weren't about to abandon 
the work they had started: Anton, Artem and Lyosha. Anton 
actually used his own holiday savings to pay the monthly rent 
on an apartment for me. They were willing to wait until I 
sought and found a way out of my present circumstances and 
could continue my work on creating the Fellowship. They 
had got caught up by the whole idea. They believed in it. But 
I could see nothing ahead but a dead end. 

It was right at this time that some news arrived from Nov- 
osibirsk. 



Chapter Nineteen 



Suicide* 



One evening a man from Novosibirsk dropped by to see me. 
He was in Moscow on some business of his own. He brought 
along a bottle of vodka and some light snacks. We sat in the 
kitchen of my one-room flat, and he told me about how things 
stood with my family and my company 

The situation was indeed deplorable. My firm had had to 
give up one of its offices in the centre of the city for lack of 
funds to pay the rent. Our automobile spare-parts store had 
had to close. The workers there tried selling shoes, but their 
debts only increased. The entire responsibility fell on my 
shoulders. 

'And here you're up to goodness-knows-what. Alot of people 
are saying you've gone mad. Ydu should have worked out things 
at the company first and then gone off and done your own thing, 
whatever it is. Nobody there has faith in you any more." 

As we were finishing off the bottle, he asked me: 

"You want me to tell you my honest opinion — what they 
expect of you?" 

"Go ahead," I replied. 

"They would like you to do away with yourself, or at least 
disappear for good. You be the judge — it's impossible to start 
anything now without any seed capital, and here not only do 
you not have any seed capital, you don't even have enough to 
live on. And your debts have been building up like crazy 

"Ym know, nobody's ever heard of someone climbing out of a 
hole like that. But with you out of the picture, your death will set- 
tle everything, and they can divide up what's left of your estate. 



Suicide? 113 

"Your wife says that according to the horoscope you're a 
Leo, and you've just been wasting your whole life away, so you 
should dit in poverty, just like in the horoscope. 

"Come on, now, why did you undertake that second expe- 
dition? Nobody can figure it out." 

In spite of the fact that we were both pretty drunk, when I 
awoke the next morning I had a clear recollection of the whole 
conversation. His arguments were forceful and convincing. 
Novosibirsk was a dead end; there was a dead-end situation 
here in Moscow too. People who had worked alongside me 
were suffering, my family was suffering. I couldn't possibly 
find a way out and fix everything — there was simply no way 
out. Only my death could put an end to the suffering. 

Of course suicide is never the right thing to do. But accord- 
ing to the logic of events, my suicide would relieve the suffering 
of others, and if that was the case, then he was right, and I had 
no right to live. And so I decided to do away with myself. The 
thought of it even brought comfort to me. I was freed from 
the need to undertake a torturous search for a way out of my 
present situation, since I agreed that death was the way out. 

I cleaned up the apartment a bit and wrote the landlady a 
note to say I wouldn't be back. I decided to go to the trades- 
union office to put the Fellowship files in order. Someone — 
okay, maybe not now, but later, perhaps — would carry on 
with the work. 

The only question was: how would I do away with myself 
when I didn't even have enough money to buy the poison? 
Then I really began thinking: maybe it shouldn't look like sui- 
cide... Maybe I'll go take a dip in the river, just like the 'wal- 
ruses', 1 and I'll jump through a hole in the ice and drown. So 
I headed off toward the Moskva River. 

walruses — the name given to the many hardy souls who brave the icy wa- 
ters of Russia's lakes and rivers in the middle of winter (akin to 'Polar Bears' 
in Canada and America). 



ii4 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

As I was making my way through an underground passage- 
way at the Pushkinskaya metro station, my ear all at once 
caught a familiar melody It was being played by two young 
girls on their violins. An open violin-case lay on the pave- 
ment in front of them and passers-by were tossing in money 
Alot of buskers make extra money like that at metro stations. 
But the way these two girls were playing their sweet melody 
amidst the bustle of noisy pedestrians and the screeching of 
trains in the background caused many a passer-by to slow 
down and listen. As for me, I couldn't help but stop dead 
in my tracks. The violin bows were echoing a melody I had 
heard only once before — in the Siberian taiga — a melody 
sung by Anastasia. 

Back there in the taiga, I had once asked her to sing some- 
thing of her own — a song I'd never heard before, and she came 
out with this extraordinary, unusual captivating melody with- 
out words. She started by screaming like a newborn baby Then 
her voice began sounding ever so quiet and tender. She stood 
beneath a tree, her hands clasped to her breast, and it seemed 
as though her voice was a lullaby gently caressing a little baby, 
trying to tell him something. Her voice was so quiet it caused 
everything around to be still and listen. Then she seemed to 
be filled with delight at the little one waking from sleep, and 
her voice took off with rejoicing. The incredibly high-pitched 
sounds and cascading trills soared and took flight to the heav- 
ens, radiating through space and delighting all around... 

I asked the girls: 

"What were you playing?" 

They exchanged glances and one of them said: 

"I was just sort of improvising." 

And the other chimed in: 

'And I was just playing along." 

Here in Moscow, caught up as I was with the idea of set- 
ting up the Fellowship of Entrepreneurs, which had become 



Suicide? 115 

the main focus of my life, I had almost completely forgotten 
about Anastasia. And now, on the last day of my life, as though 
to say farewell, here she was reminding me of her existence. 

"Please, play some more, the way you were playing before!" 
I asked the girls. 

"We'll try," the older one replied. 

And there I stood in the metro station passageway, listen- 
ing to the captivating melody of the violins and remembering 
the glade in the taiga and thinking: 

Anastasia! Anastasia! It's much too complicated to make all that 
you thought up come true in real life. It's one thing to dream — quite 
another to turn the dream into reality. Some sort of mistake must 
have crept in as you were working out your plan: organise a fellow- 
ship of entrepreneurs, write a book... 

I felt as though a flood had hit me. Repeating these last 
two phrases over and over again, I felt there was something 
out of place there, something wasn't right. Back there in the 
taiga — in the taiga... the words had been spoken not quite 
the same way, but how? How else could they have been said? 
As I continued repeating them, I happened to switch the 
word order and heard myself saying: "Write a book, organise 
a fellowship of entrepreneurs." 

But of course! The book should have been written first! 
The book was supposed to settle all these questions and, most 
importantly, spread information about the fellowship! Yikes, 
how much time I realised I'd wasted and, in the meantime, 
look at how complicated my personal life had become! 

All right, then. I'll get busy, I thought. At least now it's clear 
just what I should be busy at. It's absurd, of course — some- 
one who doesn't know how to write, writing a book, espe- 
cially one he expects people to actually read! But Anastasia 
had faith it would work out. She kept trying to convince me. 
Okay. That means I've really, really got to try now And I've 
got to see it through to the end! 



Chapter Twenty 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 



I decided to go back to my apartment. Moscow was already 
feeling the touch of spring. All that remained in the kitch- 
en was half a bottle of sunflower-seed oil and some sugar. I 
needed to replenish my larder and decided to sell my winter 
shapka, 1 which was made of mink. It was a real mink hat, not 
imitation, and cost a great deal. 

Of course, the winter weather was almost over now, but I 
thought I might get at least something for it, so I headed for 
one of Moscow's many outdoor markets. I went up to various 
merchants selling fruit and other goods. They looked at the 
shapka, but were in no hurry to buy it. I had already decided to 
lower the price when two men approached me. They turned 
the shapka over in their hands, feeling the fur. 

"I need to try it on. Go see if you can borrow a mirror 
somewhere," one of them said to his companion and suggest- 
ed I follow him off to one side. 

We reached a secluded spot at the end of a row of stalls and 
stopped to wait for his companion with the mirror. We didn't 
have to wait long. He crept up stealthily from behind, and 
the blow on the back of my head first caused me to see stars, 
then my whole vision went blurry. I managed to grab hold of 
a fence to stop myself from falling to the ground, but when 
I came to, my 'buyers' were nowhere to be seen. The shapka, 



shapka — a warm fur hat, often with ear-flaps (tied up on top when not too 
cold); the commonest form of headgear during Russian winters. 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 117 

too, was gone. Only a couple of women were there, making 
sympathetic oohs and ahs. 

'Are you okay? Awful bastards, those. Here's a crate — you 
can sit down for a bit." 

I stayed standing against the fence for a while longer and 
then slowly made my way out of the market area. A spring 
drizzle was falling. I was about to cross a street and stopped 
on the kerb to look both ways. There was a painful ringing 
in my head. I wasn't watching, and a passing car sprayed me 
with water from a puddle, thoroughly wetting my trousers 
and windbreaker flaps. 

I was trying to figure out what to do next when a truck 
whizzed by, covering me with more spray from the same pud- 
dle, and this time the spray flew right into my face. I stepped 
back from the kerb and took refuge from the rain under the 
awning of one of the commercial kiosks, and tried to think 
my next plan of action. 

There was no way I realised, I could get into a metro sta- 
tion looking like this. It was three stops to my apartment. 
Sure I could walk it, but the way I looked I still might get 
picked up by the police, thinking I was a drunk, or a tramp, 
or just a suspicious person. Then you stand there, trying to 
explain and justify yourself while they investigate your case. 
What could I tell them anyway? Who am I now? 

And then I saw this man. 

He was shuffling slowly along the sidewalk, carrying two 
cases of empty bottles. He looked like one of those tramps 
or boozers who often circulate among kiosks that sell spirits 
on tap. Our eyes met. He stopped, put down his cases on the 
sidewalk and struck up a conversation with me. 

"What are you standing there looking at? This is my terri- 
tory On your way!" he said quietly, though not without an air 
of authority 

Not wanting to argue with him or cross him — indeed, not 



n8 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

having the strength to do so, I replied: 

"I don't need your territory. I'll just gather myself together 
and leave." 

But he continued: 

'And where will you go?" 

"None of your business where I'm going. I'll just leave. 
That's it." 

'And will you make it?" 

"I'll make it, if I'm not interfered with. Leave me alone!" 

"The way you look you won't either stand very long or walk 
very far." 

"What's that to you?" 

"You haven't got a home to go to?" 

"What?" 

"A novice, eh? Okay, wait here a moment." 

He picked up his cases and walked off. He came back a 
moment later with a wrapped parcel and again started speak- 
ing to me. 

"Follow me." 

"Where are we going?" 

"To a place where you can rest for a couple of hours, or 
maybe 'til morning. You can get yourself dried out. Then you 
can proceed on your way" 

Following after him, I asked: 

"Is your apartment close by?" 

Without turning his head he responded: 

"You couldn't get to my 'apartment' if you walked your 
whole life long. I don't have any apartment. I have my 'de- 
ployment quarters'." 

We walked up to a door leading to the basement of a multi- 
storey block of flats. He told me to stand over to one side 
while he looked around, waiting until none of the tenants 
were to be seen, then stuck something that looked like a key 
in the lock and opened the door. 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 119 

It was warmer in the basement than on the street. Heat 
came from hot-water pipes which had been deliberately 
stripped of their insulation, probably by tramps. On the floor 
in one corner stood a pile of rags, illuminated by a dim light 
filtering in through a dust-covered basement window. But we 
went on past them into a far corner which stood empty 

He unwrapped the parcel and brought out a bottle of min- 
eral water and uncapped it. Taking a swallow of water in his 
mouth, he sprayed it all around, as though from an atomiser. 

"That's to keep the dust down!" he explained. 

Then he slightly moved a divider standing in the corner to 
one side. From the narrow space between the divider and the 
wall he took out two sheets of plywood covered with plastic, 
along with several pieces of plastic-covered cardboard. He 
used them to lay out two makeshift bunks on the floor. Taking 
an old food tin from the corner, he lit the candle it was holding. 
The lid of the tin was not completely detached; it was clean 
and bent slightly upward in a semicircle to serve as a reflector. 
This primitive device illuminated the edges of the bunks and 
the half-metre of space between them. Here he spread out a 
sheet of newspaper, on which he started laying the contents of 
the parcel — cheese, bread and two packages of kefir. 2 

Neatly slicing the cheese, he issued an invitation: 

"What are you standing there for? Come on, sit down. 
Take off your jacket, hang it over the pipe. When it dries 
out, we'll clean it. I've got a brush. Your trousers will dry out 
without taking them off. Try not to wrinkle them." 

Then he brought out two drams 3 of vodka, and we sat down 
to eat. In contrast to the dirty basement floor all around us, 
the corner my companion had managed to set up for himself 
had an air of cleanliness and coziness. 



kefir — a popular drink made of thick fermented cow's or goat's milk, often 
sold in cardboard packages. 



120 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

After we clinked glasses, he introduced himself: 

"Call me Ivan. Nobody here bothers with patronymics." 

The way he improvised the bunks and set out the food on 
the newspaper, despite the dirty floor, created a clean and 
cozy atmosphere in his basement corner. 

"I don't suppose you have anything softer to lie on?" I asked 
after supper. 

"You can't even keep rags down here — they only get dirty, 
and then they start to smell... I've got neighbours over in 
that corner. Two of them... they show up from time to time. 
They've made one hell of a dirty mess." 

We got involved in conversation. I started answering his 
questions, and in doing so I ended up inadvertently telling 
him about my meeting with Anastasia — her lifestyle and her 
abilities — about her ray, her dreams and aspirations. 

He was the first person I had talked with about Anastasia! 
I myself don't know why I told him about all her eccentrici- 
ties, about her dream and how I promised to help her. I had 
indeed tried to set up a fellowship of pure-minded entrepre- 
neurs, but had made a major mistake. I should have written 
a book first. 

"Now I'll set about writing one and try to get it published," 
I affirmed. 'Anastasia said the book would be needed first." 

'Are you really confident you can write it and get it pub- 
lished without any funds?" 

"I don't know whether I'm confident or not. But I shall 
certainly work in that direction." 

"That means you have a goal, and you're going to go for it?" 



^In the mid-1990s 'drams' of vodka were actually sold in what appeared to 
be plastic yoghurt cups, complete with a metal foil cover. This packaging 
enabled heavy drinkers to dispense with the need for a glass or to find a co- 
drinker to split the cost of a bottle, and thereby gained tremendous popu- 
larity 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 121 

"I'm going to try." 

'And you're sure you'll make it?" 

"I'm going to try." 

"Yeah, a book. You'll be needing a good artist to do the 
cover. Someone who can do it with heart. In line with the 
meaning of the book, with the goal. And where're you going 
to find an artist if you haven't got any money?" 

"I'll have to do without an artist. Without a fancy cover." 

"You should do it up brown, with a cover that really fits in 
with the book. If I had good paper, brushes and paints, I'd 
help you. Only those things cost a lot now" 

"You mean to say you're an artist? Professional?" 

"I'm an officer. But I've loved drawing and painting since 
childhood. I joined various art groups. Whenever I could 
steal some time, I'd paint pictures and give them to friends." 

"Well, why did you go and become an officer if you still 
wanted to paint all these years?" 

"My great-grandfather was an officer, my grandfather and 
my father too. I loved and respected my father. I knew — I 
felt — what he wanted me to be. So I tried to be that. And I 
made it all the way to colonel." 

"Where did you serve?" 

"Mainly in the KGB. That's where I resigned from." 

"Through attrition or were you forced out?" 

"It was my decision. Just couldn't take it any more." 

"What couldn't you take?" 

"You know the popular song: Oh officers, officers, your 
heart is under fire. " 4 

4 0h officers, officers, your heart is under fire (in Russian: Ofitsery, ofitsery, vashe 
serdtse pod pritselom) — from an extremely popular song written by singer- 
songwriter Oleg Gazmanov (1951-) in 1994, which stayed several years at 
the top of the charts. The song extols the virtue of soldiers defending their 
country, and takes note of the challenges faced by Russian officers in a post- 
communist era. 



122 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"They tried to kill you? They made an attempt on your life? 
Did they shoot at you, maybe to settle some kind of score?" 

"Officers often get shot at. It's an age-old story, officers 
meeting up with bullets. Going to the defence of those be- 
hind them. Going along, not suspecting their own hearts 
were under fire, not suspecting the fatal shot to come from 
behind. An accurate shot. An exploding bullet. And straight 
to the heart." 

"How so?" 

"Remember the pre-perestroika times? The celebrations — 
First of May, Seventh of November? 5 Huge columns of peo- 
ple crying "Hurrah!", "Glory to...!", "Long live...!" Me and the 
other officers, not just those from the KGB, were proud of 
the fact that we were the defenders of our people. We were 
protecting them. For most officers, this was their whole rea- 
son for living. 

"Then came perestroika, and glasnost. 6 Other shouts began 
to be heard. And it turned out that we, the KGB officers, 
were bastards, executioners. We were defending the wrong 
people and the wrong things. The ones that earlier marched 
in Soviet columns under red banners had gone over to march 



: ) First of May, Seventh of November — two of the biggest Soviet holidays: i 
May: International Workers' Solidarity Day, a communist version of Labour 
Day, originally commemorating the Chicago General Strike of 1886; first 
celebrated in Russia (St. Petersburg) in 1891. 7 November: the date of the 
Bolshevik Revolution. Parades on these days featured huge banners with 
communist slogans such as "Glory to the Communist Party of the Soviet 
Union!" and 'Dong live the brotherhood of nations of the USSR!"; these 
slogans would be shouted out on cue by the parading masses of workers 
and soldiers. 

glasnost — literally 'openness', 'transparency, meaning greater freedom of 
speech and especially greater availability of information on socially impor- 
tant matters, access to which had previously been reserved for the ruling 
elite. This dead perestroika ('restructuring') became universal buzzwords to 
describe Gorbachev's liberal policies. 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 123 

in other columns under different banners, and we got left to 
take the blame. 

"I had a wife, nine years younger than me, a real beauty I 
loved her. Still do. She was so proud of me. We had a son, 
an only child. He came along... rather late, how shall I say it? 
Now he's seventeen. In the beginning he too was proud of 
me, he respected me. 

"Then, after this whole business started, my wife became 
very quiet. She wouldn't look me in the eye. She began to 
be ashamed of me. I handed in my resignation and took a 
job as a security guard at a commercial bank. I hid my KGB 
uniform where nobody would find it. But there were unasked 
questions still hanging in the air over my wife and son. You 
can't answer questions which haven't been asked. They saw 
the answers in the papers and on TV screens. Turned out, we 
officers were involved in nothing but our dachas — and, of 
course, oppression." 

"But," I interjected, "they showed on TV some pretty fancy 
dachas of the military elite — and they showed the real thing, 
not just faked pictures." 

"Yeah, they showed the real thing, not just faked pictures. 
Only those dachas were sleazy chicken-houses compared to 
what many of those who accused their owners have themselves 
today Look at you — you had a whole ship at your disposal. 
That's a lot bigger than a general's dacha. And don't forget, that 
general was once a cadet, he dug trenches. Then he became a 
lieutenant, got shifted about from barracks to barracks. And 
naturally he wanted to have a house and a dacha for his family, 
just like everyone else. And who knows how many times he 
had to jump out of his warm bed in the middle of the night in 
that same dacha, to go out on an emergency mission. 

"Officers used to be respected in Russia. They were reward- 
ed with an estate. Now it's been decided that a simple dacha 
with 1500 square metres of land is too much for a general!" 



124 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Everybody lived differently before," I observed. 

"Differently... Yes, everybody... But you can't tell me it 
wasn't the officers who were singled out for blame ahead of 
everyone else. 

"It was the officers who demonstrated on the Senate 
Square." They were thinking of the people. These officers 
were later sent either to the scaffold or to the mines in Sibe- 
ria. Nobody stood up to defend them. 

"Later Russian officers fought for the Tsar and the Father- 
land in the trenches against the Germans. And back home 
'revolutionary patriots' were already getting bullets ready 
for their hearts more terrible than the leaden ones. White 
Guards? Monsters — that was what they called the officers re- 
turning from the war — officers who were simply trying to 
maintain order. There was chaos all around, everything was 
falling apart. All our former values, both material and spiritu- 
al, were being either torched or trampled upon. It was so hard 
for them, those White Guard officers. So they put on clean 
underwear under their uniforms 9 and went on a psychological 
attack. You know what's meant by 'psychological attack?" 

"It's when you try to scare the hell out of your opponent. 
I've seen it in films. In Chapaev, 10 for example, the White 



'Senate Square, now known as Decembrists' Square — a large square not far 
from the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, where a significant number of 
military officers demonstrated (unsuccessfully) against the Tsarist govern- 
ment in December 1825. The officers were either exiled or executed for 
treason. 

o 

White Guards — the name given to military personnel who fought against 
the Bolshevik Revolution and during the subsequent Civil War (1918-23). 
The pro-Bolshevik soldiers were known as the Reds. 

clean underwear under their uniforms — a sign that the officers expected to 
be killed in battle that day 

Chapaev — a classic Russian film, made in 1934, telling the story of Vasily 
Ivanovich Chapaev, a Red Army hero of the Russian Civil War. 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 125 

Guard officers are advancing in formation, and they get 
strafed by machine-gun fire. Some fall, but the others close 
ranks and keep advancing." 

"Yeah, that's it. They fall and still keep advancing. But the 
thing is that they weren't really 'attacking' to begin with." 

"How so? What was the point of advancing then?" 

"In military practice the whole reason for, the goal of any 
attack is either the capture or the physical annihilation of the 
enemy — preferably with the least possible loss in the ranks 
of the attackers. To keep advancing against strafing from 
machine-guns concealed in trenches — that was only done 
when there was another goal set, either consciously or subcon- 
sciously." 

"What goal?" 

"Maybe, and this goes against the logic of the art of war, 
it was to demonstrate something to the enemy even at the 
cost of one's own life — to make the soldiers firing the guns 
and killing the advancing marchers stop and think, to realise 
something and not fire at others." 

"So, in that case their death would be something like Jesus 
Christ's death on the cross?" 

"Something like that. We still manage to remember Christ, 
somehow. The young cadets and generals who advanced 
against their attackers, we've forgotten. Maybe even now 
their souls, dressed in clean underwear under their officers' 
uniforms, are standing in front of the bullets we're firing, and 
pleading with us, calling on us, to stop and think." 

"Why would they be calling to us? When they were being 
fired on, we weren't even born." 

"No, we weren't. But bullets are still flying around today. 
New bullets. Who, if not us, is doing the firing?" 

"Indeed. Bullets are still flying around today And just why 
have they been flying around all these years? Why did you 
leave home?" 



126 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"I couldn't stand the way he stared at me." 

"The way who stared at you?" 

"We were watching TV one night. My wife was in the 
kitchen, and my son and I were watching together. Then 
one of those political programmes came on, they started 
talking about the KGB. You know, a real smear campaign. I 
deliberately picked up a newspaper and made it look like I 
was reading, as though I wasn't interested in what they were 
saying. I was hoping my son would switch to another pro- 
gramme. He's never been interested in politics. He likes 
music. 

"But he didn't change the channel. I rustled my paper, 
stealing glances at him out of the corner of my eye. And I saw 
him sitting in the chair, his hands gripping the arms of the 
chair so tight they turned white. He didn't move a muscle. I 
realised he wasn't going to change the channel. I held on as 
long as I could, hiding behind the paper. Then I couldn't take 
it any more. I smashed the paper into a ball and threw it to 
one side, got up sharply and yelled: Are you going to turn the 
damn thing off? Are you?' 

"My son also got up. But he didn't go over to the TV He 
stood opposite me, stared me in the eye and said nothing. 
The TV programme was still going. But my son just kept on 
staring at me. 

"Later that night I wrote them a note. I said I was going 
away for awhile — had no choice. And then I left for good." 

"Why for good?" 

"Because." 

For a long time neither of us uttered a word. I tried to 
make myself a bit more comfortable on the bunk so I could 
drift off. But then the colonel started talking again. 

"So, you tell me Anastasia said she'd bring people through 
'the dark forces' window of time'? She'd bring them through, 
and that's it?!" 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 127 

"Yeah, that's what she said. And she herself believes that 
she can make it happen." 

"Ah, she should have a hand-picked regiment. I'd become 
a soldier again to serve in that regiment." 

"What's this about a regiment?" I retorted. "You didn't get 
it. She rejects the use of force. She wants to persuade people 
by some other means. She's trying to do that with her Ray." 

"I think, or rather I feel, that she's going to do it. There's a 
lot of people that will want to be warmed by her Ray But not 
many of them will understand that they themselves will have 
to put in something from their own brain-power. Anastasia 
needs help. She's all alone. She hasn't got even a single pla- 
toon at her command. So, you see, she's recruited you, she's 
commissioned you — and here you are lying in a basement 
like a tramp. And you call yourself entrepreneur after that?" 

"Well, you KGB-er, you're lying here, too." 

"Okay, go to sleep, soldier." 

"It's rather cold in your 'barracks'." 

"Well, that's the way it is, isn't it? Curl up into a ball, con- 
serve your heat." 

Then he got up and took out from behind the divider yet 
another plastic bag. He got something out of it to cover me 
with. In the dim light of the candle I could see shining right 
under my nose three stars on the epaulet of a greatcoat. It 
was warm under the coat, and I fell asleep. 

I was half asleep when I heard the tramps come in and 
head for their rag corner. They demanded the colonel hand 
them over a bottle for my overnight stay He promised to set- 
tle it in the morning, but they insisted, threateningly, that he 
better pay up now, or else. The colonel then moved his bunk, 
placing it between me and the newcomer tramps, declaring: 
"Y)u touch him only over my dead body!" And he lay down 
on his bunk, shielding me from the new arrivals. Then every- 
thing went quiet again. I felt warm and peaceful. 



128 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

I was awakened by the colonel's shaking my shoulder. 

"Get up. Turnout! We gotta get outa here." 

The first rays of dawn were barely beginning to show them- 
selves through the dim basement window I sat up on my 
bunk. Not only did I have a splitting headache but I found I 
had trouble breathing. 

"It's still early. The dawn hasn't even broken," I observed. 

"A little longer and it'll be too late. They've lit some cotton- 
wool with powder. It's an old trick. A little longer and we'll 
be suffocated." 

He went to the window and started working the window- 
frame loose with an iron bar. The tramps had locked the door 
from the outside. Taking out the frame, he broke the glass 
and crawled through the aperture. The basement window 
opened into a concrete well, covered with a grating. The 
colonel began fiddling with the grating, trying to dislodge it, 
but somehow it wasn't working. 

I stayed leaning against a wall. My head was spinning. The 
colonel stuck his head back through the window opening and 
ordered: 

"Squat down. Less smoke near the floor. Try not to move. 
Breathe in less air." 

He forced the grating out with his shoulders. He moved it 
off and helped me clamber out. 

We sat on the cement kerb outside the basement window, 
silently filling our lungs with the pre-dawn air of an awaken- 
ing city The spinning in my head gradually lessened. The air 
started feeling cold. Each of us sat there, thinking his own 
thoughts. 

Then I said: 

"Your neighbours aren't very friendly. They're the ones in 
charge here?" 

"Everyone's in charge of himself. They got their own busi- 
ness. They bring in a new homeless person, and make him pay 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 129 

for staying overnight. If he refuses to pay, they slip something 
into his drink or suffocate him in his sleep, like they tried to 
do to us, and then they take whatever they like from him — if 
he's got anything worth taking, that is." 

'And you're telling me that you, a KGB-er, are indifferent 
to it all? You could earn yourself some pretty points by giv- 
ing chaps like that the once-over. Or were you just a pencil- 
pusher, sitting in an office all day? A'laybe you didn't know 
how to work the street?" 

"I worked in an office and I worked outside the office. I 
knew what to do. But to know the moves — that's not the 
same as applying them. A criminal, an enemy — that's one 
thing. But here we're dealing with human beings. I might 
calculate wrong, use too much deadly force." 

"You call those human beings? While you're rationalising 
away, they're out there robbing people blind. They're even 
ready to commit murder!" 

"Yeah, they're ready to commit murder. But you won't stop 
them by physical means." 

"You sit there philosophising, but we almost died. We 
barely managed to escape, others might not be so lucky" 

"Yeah, others might not be so lucky..." 

"There, you see? Then how come you're philosophising 
and not acting?" 

"I can't use violence on people. Ydu see what I mean, I 
could calculate wrong... You may as well get going to your 
own 'deployment quarters'. It's dawn already" 

I got up, shook his hand, and left. 

I had gone but a few steps when he called after me: 

"Wait! Come back here a moment." 

I approached the homeless colonel sitting on the concrete 
kerb. He was just sitting there, his head lowered, not saying 
a word. 

"Hey, why did you call me?" 



130 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

After a moment's pause he spoke: 

"So, you think you'll make it okay?" 

"I think I can. It's not far. Three metro stops, that's all. I'll 
make it." 

"I meant, d'you think you'll reach your goal? Are you sure? 
Writing a book, getting it published?" 

"I'll give it a try First I'll try writing." 

"So, Anastasia said it should work out for you?" 

"That's what she said." 

"Then why didn't you do that right off?" 

"The other seemed more important." 

"So, that means you're not good at following orders prop- 
erly?" 

'Anastasia didn't order me, she asked me." 

"She asked you... So, she worked out the tactics and strat- 
egy herself. And you thought you'd do it your way, and you just 
loused things up." 

"That's how it turned out." 

"That's how it turned out... You gotta pay closer attention 
to your orders. Here, take this." 

He held out something wrapped in a small plastic package. 
I unwrapped it and saw, through the clear plastic, a golden 
wedding band and a silver cross on a little chain. 

'A dealer will give you half-price for these. Let him have 
them for half-price. Maybe it'll help see you through. If 
you've got nowhere to stay, come back here. I'll take care of 
them." 

"What are you talking about? I can't take these!" 

"Don't rationalise. It's time for you to go. So go. Look to it! 
Just go!" 

"I'm telling you, I can't take them." 

I tried to give him back the ring and the little cross, but I 
was met by an authoritative and, at the same time, pleading 
stare. 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 131 

'About— face! Forward— march!" he commanded in a 
whisper that was restrained, yet brooked no contradiction. A 
moment later came another plea: 

"Just be sure you make it." 

Arriving at my flat, I felt like going to sleep and even got 
to the point of lying down. But I couldn't get the homeless 
colonel out of my head. 

I got dressed in some clean clothes and went to see him. 
Along the way I thought: Maybe he'll agree to move in with 
me. He's adaptable to anything. He's practical and he's neat. 
Besides, he's an artist. Maybe he'll do a picture for the book's 
cover. And it'll be easier to find some rent money if we're to- 
gether. I had no money for the next month's rent. 

As I approached the basement window we had climbed 
out of earlier that morning, I saw a group of people — tenants 
from the building, a police car and an ambulance. 

The homeless colonel was lying on the ground, his eyes 
closed and a smile on his face. His face and body were splat- 
tered with wet dirt. One dead hand was clenched around a 
piece of red brick. A broken wooden crate stood against the 
wall. 

A court medical assessor was writing something down on a 
notepad. He was standing beside the corpse of another man, 
dressed in shabby, rumpled clothing, with a disfigured face. 

In the little crowd that had gathered, no doubt comprised of 
the building's tenants, one woman was rattling on excitedly: 

"...I was walkin' me dog an' I saw him, the one smilin', 
perched on the crate, his face to the wall, an' the three of 
'em — tramps, by the look of it — two men an' a woman 
with 'em — comes at him from behind. The man gives the 
crate a kick an' he falls off the crate to the ground. They 
starts kickin' him, cursin' all the while, they did. I yells at 
'em. They stops kickin' him. Old 'Smiley' here, he gets up, 
see. He has a pretty hard time gettin' up too. An' he tells 



132 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

'em to sod off an' not show their faces around here again. 
They starts cursin' again, an' then they comes at him full 
force. As they gets closer, he gives a straight chop with the 
back of his hand right to the throat of the bloke what kicked 
the crate. It's not that he's wavin' his arms about or anythin', 
he just lands the other bloke a chop so's he doubles up an' 
can't breathe. I yells at 'em again an' two of 'em runs straight 
off, see. First the woman, then the man after her. 'Smiley"s 
now clutchin' at his heart. He oughtta sit down or lie down 
straight off, if it's his heart what's givin' out, but no, he goes 
back to his crate. Moves ever so slowly, he does. Puts his 
crate back against the wall. Then he gets back up on it. I 
can see he's in a really bad way. He starts fallin'. An' he slides 
down, still drawin' on the wall with that red brick of his, an' 
keeps on drawin' 'til he lands himself on the ground. An' he's 
lyin' there face up, right against the wall. I runs over, looks, 
an' he ain't breathin'. Not breathin'. But he's smilinT 

"Why did he climb up on the crate?" I asked the woman. 

"Yeah, why did he climb up if his heart were givin' out?" 
echoed a voice from the crowd. 

"He wanted to keep on drawin'. And when those three 
blokes came at him from behind, he was drawin', that's what 
he was doin'... That's prob'ly why he didn't see 'em comin'. 
I'd been walkin' me dog for a long time, an' there he is, stan- 
din' on his crate an' drawin... He didn't turn 'round, not even 
once... You can see what he drew — up there, on the wall!" 
And the woman pointed to the building. 

On the grey brick wall of the building could be seen the cir- 
cular outline of the Sun, and in the middle of it a cedar branch 
and, around the perimeter of the Sun-circle, some letters 
printed rather unevenly 

I went closer to the wall and read: RINGING CEDARS 
OF RUSSIA. Apart from that, there were rays emanating 
from the Sun. There were only three of them. The homeless 



The Ringing Cedars of Russia 133 

colonel didn't manage to draw any more. Two of the rays were 
short and straight, while the third was wavy and fading away, 
and extended right down to the base of the wall, where the 
dead homeless colonel was lying on the ground, smiling. 

I looked at the smiling face smeared with dirt and thought 
to myself: Maybe in the last moments of his life Anastasia man- 
aged to touch him with her Ray, and warm him up. At least 
warm his soul up a little and carry it off to a bright infinity 

I watched as the corpses were loaded into the ambulance. 
'My' colonel was thrown carelessly in the process, his head 
striking the floor of the ambulance. I couldn't take it. I tore 
off my jacket, ran over to the ambulance and started demand- 
ing they put my jacket under his head. One of the orderlies 
swore at me, but the other took the jacket without a word and 
placed it under the colonel's greying head. The vehicles drove 
off. Everything was empty, just as if nothing had happened. 

I stood there awhile, looking at the drawing and inscription 
illuminated by the morning sun. My thoughts began getting all 
mixed up. I had to do something, at least something for him, for 
this KGB-er, a Russian officer who had perished on this spot! 
But what? What, indeed? 

Then it came to me: I'm going to put your drawing my dear 
officer, on the cover of my book. The book I most definitely will 
write. Even though I don't yet know how to write, I'll still 
write one, and not just one. And on all of them I'll put your 
drawing — it'll be my emblem. And in the book I'll tell all 
Russians: 

"My fellow Russians, don't shoot at the hearts of your of- 
ficers with invisible exploding bullets, bullets of cruelty and 
heartlessness. 

"Don't shoot from behind at any soldiers — be they White 
or Red, or even blue or green, ensigns or generals. The bullets 
you fire at them from behind are more terrible than the lead- 
en ones. My fellow Russians, do not shoot at your officers!" 



Chapter Twenty-One 



Untitled 



I wrote quickly: From time to time Anton, Artem or Lyosha, 
the student programmers, would drop by and bring me a bite 
to eat. I still had not told them about Anastasia. But I ex- 
plained to them that the organisation of the Fellowship could 
be facilitated with the help of the book I was to write. And 
so they set about keyboarding the text of the book into the 
computers. It was mainly Lyosha Novichkov who worked on 
this. He showed up every three days, bringing a print-out of 
his latest keyboarding and taking home a new chapter of the 
manuscript. This went on for about two months. 

One day Lyosha showed up with the last printed chapter 
of Book i, a diskette with the full text, two bottles of beer, 
frankfurters and some other kind of food, along with a little 
money, and set it all down on the kitchen table. 

"Where did you get all this bounty, Lyosha?" I asked in 
amazement. 

He lived alone with his mother, on very limited means. He 
didn't always have enough money to buy metro tokens or even 
sandwiches. 

"It's exam time, Vladimir Nikolaevich," Lyosha responded. 
"I do drafts for some of the students, I make up computer 
programmes for them. For students who can't do them them- 
selves or are too lazy. They pay me for them." 

'And will you make it through the exams yourself all 
right?" 

"Will do. I've got just one exam left, and in a couple of 
days I'll have to go off for a month on military training, to 



Untitled 135 

Kineshma. 1 It's good you managed to get Anastasia finished. 
If there are any corrections to be made now, Artem will take 
care of them. Anton's already off on training." 

"Tell me, Lyosha, how did you possibly manage to sit ex- 
ams, do drafts and make up computer programmes for others, 
and still keyboard and print out Anastasia every day?" 

Lyosha didn't respond. I turned to the kitchen table to 
serve up the steamed frankfurters. Lyosha's head and arms 
were resting on the table, on top of the printed pages contain- 
ing the Anastasia text. He was fast asleep. 



Kineshma — an industrial centre and port on the Volga River. 



Chapter Twenty-Two 



Unravelling the mystery 



Standing in the kitchen of my small Moscow apartment, 
standing next to the table with the frankfurters getting cold 
and Lyosha Novichkov's head resting on the pages containing 
the text of Anastasia, I made a promise to myself: to find away 
of regaining my capital and getting back my ship with a view 
to taking it on the same journey as last year when I first met 
Anastasia. But not on a trade mission, as before. I wanted 
to go there during the 'white nights' of summer, so that Lyo- 
sha, Anton and Artem — as well as all those who had worked 
like dogs, in spite of all the setbacks and often to the neglect 
of their own material well-being, to organise a fellowship of 
purer-minded entrepreneurs — could enjoy a decent holiday 
aboard my ship in the most luxurious quarters. 

And what was this grand idea all about, in any case? What 
kind of hold did it have on people? Why was I, too, drawn 
into it so closely? What kind of mystery did it conceal? I just 
had to figure this out, in concrete detail, and unravel its mys- 
tery and purpose. And why are people so turned on by this 
dream of a taiga recluse? What lies hidden there? How can I 
unravel the mystery? 

Moskovskaya Pravda correspondent Katya Golovina tried 
unravelling it by asking the students to explain what moti- 
vated them, what their personal stake was in all this. But they 
couldn't give a definitive answer, saying only that it was some- 
thing worth doing. In other words, they were working on in- 
tuition. But what was behind this intuition? 



Chapter Twenty-Three 



Untitled 



At Moscow Printshop Number Eleven two thousand cop- 
ies of the first slim volume about Anastasia were printed at 
the shop's own expense. Why did the manager, Gennady 
Vladimirovich Grutsia, decide to print a book by an unknown 
author? Why would he do this and, in spite of the printshop's 
current financial difficulties, use offset paper instead of the 
usual newsprint? 1 

The first books I sold myself near the entrance to the Ta- 
ganskaya metro station. Then I got some help from some of 
the book's first readers. An elderly woman would daily stand 
and sell copies outside the Dobryninskaya metro station. She 
would take great pains to explain in detail to anyone inter- 
ested what a wonderful book it was. Why? 

Then readers began selling it as well in vacation centres on 
the outskirts of Moscow They would print out announcements 
and organise readers' gatherings for people holidaying there. 

Then the business manager of the Moscow Publishers' 
Clearance House, Yuri Anatolievich Nikitin, suddenly de- 
cided to offer the printshop an advance on an additional two 
thousand copies. His actions were strange and unexpected. 

He drove over to see me in his car and told me: 

"My son and I are leaving the country today to go to a ten- 
nis tournament. Our plane goes tonight. I need to hurry to 
get my payment in." 



newsprint — This has long been the norm for printing most paperback 
books in Russia. 



138 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

He paid for the second print-run in full. When the time 
came for him to pick up his books, Nikitin told me: 

"You know, during the summer we don't do a lot of book- 
selling. I'll take several packages, the rest you take care of 
yourself. When money starts coming your way, you can reim- 
burse me." Again, why? 

Right from the moment I started working on the manu- 
script there have been many whys? associated with the book, 
even to this day. It's almost as though the book were alive, 
drawing people unto itself and using their help to break 
through into life. I used to think that the events connected 
with it were pure coincidence. Only those 'co-incidences' 
started tying themselves together into a pattern. Now I have 
no idea, in all that has happened, just what is coincidence and 
what is in conformity with a law. The two have become ex- 
ceedingly difficult to tell apart. 



Chapter Twenty- Four 



Father Feodorit 



The moment arrived when I finally managed to pay a visit to 
Father Feodorit. Back in the taiga, in response to my ques- 
tion as to whether there were any people in our world with 
knowledge and abilities similar to hers, only living closer to 
home, Anastasia had replied: 

"There are people in various corners of the Earth whose 
lifestyle is not caught up in the prevailing technocracy. 
They all have different abilities. But in your world there 
is also one person whom you will find it easy to approach, 
whether it be winter or summer. The power of his spirit is 
very great." 

"Do you know where he lives? Can I see him and talk with 
him?" 

"Yes, you can." 

"Who is he?" 

"He is your father, Vladimir." 

"What do you mean? Oh, Anastasia, Anastasia! I so much 
wanted to hear proof that you're right about everything, and 
here it's all coming out the wrong way! My father died eight- 
een years ago and was buried in a little town in the Briansk 
region." 

Anastasia sat on the grass, her back leaning against a tree, 
her knees drawn up close to her chest, and silently looked me 
in the eye. She seemed a little sad, as though she were tak- 
ing pity on me. Then she lowered her head to her knees. I 
thought she might be feeling upset over her mistake regard- 
ing my father, and I tried to comfort her. 



140 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Don't get too upset, Anastasia. It's probably because, as 
you said yourself, you don't have that much strength left." 1 

Anastasia didn't speak for a while, then raised her head 
and, once more looking me right in the eye, said: 

"My strength has indeed lessened, but not to the point 
where I could be mistaken." 

She then proceeded to relate events that had taken place 
twenty-six years ago. She recounted the past not only with 
great accuracy and in minute detail, but was even able to con- 
vey nuances of inner feelings. 

It is understandable how one can pick up clues from the 
outward appearance: a barely noticeable facial expression, a 
body position, even the eyes, can all give clues as to what an 
interlocutor is thinking. But how she was able to discern the 
past as though it were simply a documentary newsreel is still 
a mystery to me. 

Anastasia herself was not able to explain this phenomenon 
in a standard, comprehensible manner. But this is what she 
had to say: 

"Not far from Moscow is the Trinity-Sergiev Monastery 
complex in the town of Sergiev Posad. Behind Trinity-Ser- 
giev's massive, ancient walls there is a seminary, an academy 
and several cathedrals, in addition to the monastery proper. 
The cathedrals are open to the public, and anyone who wish- 
es can come and pray in this holy place of Rus. 2 It was not 
destroyed even during the campaigns of persecution against 
believers; indeed, right through this period, the institutions 



1 Author's note: This conversation took place after she lost consciousness in 
saving the man and the woman from being murdered. I described this 
situation in my first book. 

2 Rus (pronounced: ROOS) — the name of the Old Russian territory, which 
by the 9th century A. D. was centred around Kiev From Rus came the Rus- 
sia, Ukraine and Belarus we know today 



Father Feodorit 141 

behind these walls continued to function uninterrupted, pro- 
viding a place where the monastic brethren could serve God. 

"Twenty-six years ago, on the very day I came into this 
world," she continued, "a young man in his late teens walked 
through the gates of the Trinity- Sergiev Monastery. He toured 
the museum, and then proceeded to visit the main cathedral, 
where a sermon was being read by a tall, grey-haired monk. 
Both the monk's height and his rank were well above aver- 
age. This was Father Feodorit, archimandrite of the Trinity- 
Sergiev Monastery The young man listened to his sermon. 
Later, when Father Feodorit withdrew, he followed him into 
one of the treasury-rooms, unhindered by the temple staff. 
Going up to Father Feodorit, he started talking to him about 
the sermon. And Father Feodorit spoke with him for a long 
time. The young man had been baptised, but did not have 
much inner faith. He did not observe the fasts, did not take 
communion, and did not attend church regularly. But that 
day marked the beginning of a friendship between Father 
Feodorit and the young man. 

"The young man started paying visits to the monastery Fa- 
ther Feodorit would talk with him and show him the sanctu- 
aries normally off-limits to ordinary parishioners. The monk 
gave him books, which he lost. The monk placed a little cross 
on a chain around his neck, and it was lost as well. The monk 
gave him a second cross, a most unusual one — it opened like 
a tiny case, but it too was lost. 

"The monk would even take the young man into the refec- 
tory and seat him at the same table as the monks. Each time 
he would give him a little money He never rebuked him for 
anything and always looked forward to his arrival. 

"This went on for a whole year. The young man visited the 
monastery every week, but one day he left and did not return 
the following week. He did not come after a month, even 
after a whole year. The monk still waited. Now twenty-five 



142 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

years have passed already. The monk is still waiting. Twenty- 
five years, Vladimir, your spiritual father has been waiting for 
you — that great Russian monk, Father Feodorit." 

"I went far away from the monastery To Siberia. I some- 
times thought of Father Feodorit," I responded, as though 
justifying my actions to myself or to someone else. 

"But you did not write him even one letter," observed Anastasia. 

"I want to see him." 

'And what will you tell him? Perhaps about how you made 
money, were happy in love and simply went astray? How 
many times were you at death's door, but at the last moment 
you were delivered from your woes? He will see all that for 
himself, just by looking at you. He prayed for forgiveness of 
your sins and time after time saved you through his prayers. 
He still believes, just as he did twenty-five years ago. He was 
hoping for something different from you." 

"What was it, Anastasia? What does Father Feodorit know, 
what does he want?" 

"I cannot comprehend it, at least not now It was some- 
thing he felt intuitively. Tell me, Vladimir, do you remember 
the conversations you had with him, do you remember what 
you saw in the monastery treasury-room?" 

"It's all very fuzzy in my mind. After all, it was so long ago. 
I can only remember isolated scenes." 

"Try to remember them. I shall help you." 

"Father Feodorit would talk with me each time in vari- 
ous places in the monastery. I remember some underground 
rooms — at least they were partially underground. I remem- 
ber the refectory, the long table where the monks took their 
supper, and I had supper with them. It was during a time of 
some sort of fast. The food was especially prepared for the 
fast, but I liked it." 

"Did you have any unusual impressions or feelings during 
your visits to the monastery?" 



Father Feodorit 143 

"Once after supper I left the refectory and went through a 
passageway to an inner courtyard of the monastery complex, 
heading for an exit. The gate was already closed to parish- 
ioners. The courtyard was empty Those massive high walls 
blocked out the noise from the city beyond. All I could see 
around me were the cathedrals. Everything was completely 
silent. I stopped. It seemed as though I could hear solemn 
music playing. I needed to leave. There was a monk on duty 
at the gate to let me out and bolt the gate shut after me. But 
I just stood there and listened to that music, and eventually 
slowly, made my way over to the gate." 

"Ym never heard that music again? You never experienced 
the same impression?" 

"No." 

"Did you ever try to hear that music — to call up the im- 
pression of it from within?" 

"Yes, but I never managed to. I even tried standing on that 
same spot the next time I came, but, alas..." 

"Try thinking of something else, Vladimir." 

"Now you're interrogating me. You recounted everything 
so accurately — everything that happened to me twenty-six 
years ago — you tell me how I felt back then." 

"That is not possible. Father Feodorit did not formulate 
any specific plans, he was hoping for something intuitively 
But he did do something great and significant for you. Some- 
thing known only to him. I can only feel it intuitively myself: 
he thought up something significant and did a lot toward this 
end. A great deal, in fact. But why he associated his desire 
with you — you who did not have the basic abilities to come 
quickly into the faith — remains a mystery And why he has 
not broken this faith even after twenty-five years of your prof- 
ligate life — that too is a mystery. And why are you, who have 
received so much, still sitting on your hands? Why? I can- 
not understand that. After all, nothing in the Universe ever 



144 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

disappears without a trace. Please see if you can remember 
even isolated scenes from your meetings and conversations 
with your spiritual father." 

"I remember a salon, or perhaps it was some sort of treas- 
ury-room, in the academy or seminary, or maybe it was one of 
the underground rooms in the monastery itself. Some kind 
of monk opened the door for Father Feodorit, but didn't go 
in himself. The Father and I went in alone. There were some 
pictures on the walls, and things standing on little shelves." 

"You experienced two surprises there. What were they?" 

"Surprises? Yes, of course, it did surprise me. Astounded 
me..." 

"What did?" 

"A particular picture. It was black and white, as if drawn 
with a pencil. It was a meticulously executed portrait of some 
person." 

"So, what surprised you about it?" 

"I don't remember." 

"Think, Vladimir! Please, try to recall it — I shall help you. 
There was the small salon, you were standing alone there with 
Father Feodorit in front of this picture. You were standing 
just a little way in front of him, and he told you: 'Step a little 
closer to the picture, Vladimir.' You took one step forward, 
then another..." 

"I remember! Anastasia!" 

"What?" 

"This picture of a person was drawn with a single line. A 
fluctuating spiral line. It was as though the artist had put his 
pencil or whatever in the middle of a blank sheet of paper, and 
without taking it off the paper, had made it go in a spiral, alter- 
nately pressing hard on it to make the line thicker and easing up, 
barely touching the paper, to make a fine, delicate line, but still 
continuous. The spiral line ended at one edge of the page. The 
result was an amazing picture, the portrait of a person." 



Father Feodorit 145 

"This picture," Anastasia advised, "should be put on public 
display for all to see. Someone will be able to decipher the 
information concealed in it. That pulsating line portraying a 
person has something to say to people." 

"How?" 

"I do not know yet. You are aware, for example, how dots 
and dashes can represent an alphabet or musical notation. I 
can only guess it could be one or the other of those, or some- 
thing else besides. When you return, ask them to put it on 
public display or to publish it somewhere. Someone will turn 
up who is able to decipher that spiral line." 

"But who will listen to me?" 

"They will listen to you. But back then you experienced a 
second most unusual feeling. Can you recall what it was?" 

"It was in the same room or in the next room... Yes, it was a 
rather small room where a beautiful carved wooden chair was 
standing on a raised platform. Perhaps it was an arm-chair, 
something like a throne. Father Feodorit and I stood and 
looked at it. The Father said that nobody ever touched it." 

"But you touched it. And even sat on it." 

"It was Father Feodorit himself who suggested I sit on it." 

'And what happened to you when you did?" 

"Nothing. I sat there, looking at Father Feodorit, and he 
stood there silently looking me in the eye. Just looked, that's 
all." 

"Please remember, Vladimir, try to recall your inner feel- 
ings. They are most important." 

"Well, there was nothing special... It was just that, you 
know, some thoughts began running through my head lickety- 
split, like an audiotape in fast-forward mode, and the words 
all blurred into a stream of unintelligible sounds." 

'And you never tried deciphering them, Vladimir? Did you 
ever have the desire to stop that tape so you could listen to it 
at normal speed and understand what it was saying?" 



146 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"How could I?" 

"By pondering the essence of your being." 

"No, never tried that. You're not making any sense." 

'And the things that Father Feodorit told you, did you un- 
derstand everything? Can you recall precisely even a single 
phrase, even a phrase without any connection to the rest?" 

"Yes, but I really can't remember what it was connected 
with." 

"Tell me what it was." 

"... You will show them ... " 

At this point Anastasia, who had been sitting under the 
tree, suddenly sprang up, her face beaming. She put her hands 
on the trunk of the cedar, and pressed her cheek against it. 

"Yes, of course!" she exclaimed, waving her arms with joy 
and delightedly crying out: 

"You are truly great, Monk of Russia! You know, Vladimir, 
there is one thing I can tell you for certain about Father Feo- 
dorit. He has made a mockery of a lot of the world's teachings 
by showing what is the most essential thing." 

"He and I never discussed any teachings. We talked about 
everyday things." 

"Yes, of course! Everyday things! Father Feodorit spoke 
about things you were interested in. He showed you sacred 
creations, and treated them with veneration, but avoided 
making a big show of it. Even though he had risen to a high 
rank, he was a very simple man, most importantly, a think- 
ing man — perhaps he was even meditating during the time 
you were with him. And he was not one to expound dogmas. 
How silly the preachers of conventional dogmas that flocked 
to Russia from abroad look by comparison with him! They 
only distract one's attention from the most essential thing. 
He was so successful at protecting you from dogmas that you 
see me too as a naive recluse. It does not matter who I am. 
What matters is that you stick to the most essential thing." 



Father Feodorit 147 

"What most essential thing?" 

"The thing that is in every Man." 

"But how can every Man know the teachings of the gurus 
of the West and the East, India and Tibet, if he has never even 
heard of them?" 

'All essential information has been included in Man, 
Vladimir, in every man right from the start. It is something 
he is given on the day of his creation, just like arms, legs, hair 
and a heart. All the teachings of the world, along with all dis- 
coveries, are taken exclusively from this Source. Just as par- 
ents try to give their child everything, so the Grand Creator 
gives everything to each one right off. Nothing man-made. 
Not a multitude of books, nor the latest computers and the 
computers of the future all taken together, can ever encom- 
pass even a part of the information contained in a single Man. 
One has only to know how to use it." 

"Then why doesn't everybody make discoveries? And why 
doesn't everyone formulate teachings?" 

"Let us say one person manages to extract a grain of truth 
from the whole. And he keeps talking about it enthusiasti- 
cally, thinking it was given to him alone. And that it con- 
tains the most essential thing. He talks it up to others, try- 
ing to make them see it as the one and only important thing. 
But by talking like this, he is blocking the basic complex 
network of information already existing within himself. 
Knowledge of the truth consists not in proclaiming it but 
in living it." 

'And what way of living it is characteristic of those who 
best know the truth?" 

'A happy one!" 

"But to know the truth, one must have a conscious aware- 
ness and purity of thought?!" 

"That is visionary! Fantastic!" Anastasia shrieked with 
laughter, and merrily added: "You read my thoughts?" 



148 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Nothing visionary there, it is simply an attentive attitude 
to Man. You're always relating everything to purity of thought 
and conscious awareness." 

"Visionary! Visionary!" she repeated, still laughing. "You 
read my thoughts. Oh, how fantastic!" 

Upon hearing her cheery laughter, I too could no longer 
restrain myself and broke into peals of merriment. Later I 
asked: 

"What do you think, Anastasia, will my spiritual father, Fa- 
ther Feodorit, receive me if I go see him? Will he talk with 
me? He won't be upset?" 

"Of course he will receive you! He will be most happy to see 
you there! He will accept you any way you are. Only he will be 
even happier to see you if you have done at least something us- 
ing the information within you, if he perceives some indication 
that you are aware of it. Stop the fast-forward, Vladimir, and 
you shall understand a great deal." 

"Does my spiritual father still live in the same place? At the 
Trinity- Sergiev Monastery?" 

"Your spiritual father, that great elder of Rus, is now living in 
a small monastic priory in the forest, not far from the Trinity- 
Sergiev Monastery The priory's regulations are stricter than 
those in the monastery, and your spiritual father is the prior 
there. The priory is situated in the forest, in a compellingly 
beautiful setting. There are just a few little houses there, each 
with its own monastic cell. 

"This priory situated in the green forest has a small wood- 
en church. It is not ornately decorated and it does not have 
a gilded dome, but it is very, very beautiful, cosy and clean, 
heated by two stoves. Candles are not bought or sold there, 
as in most other churches. In fact nothing is bought or sold 
there. There is nothing and nobody to desecrate it, and pa- 
rishioners are not allowed access. Even to this day your spir- 
itual father, Father Feodorit, is praying in this church. He is 



Father Feodorit 149 

praying for the salvation of everyone's soul, including yours. 
He is praying for children who have forgotten their parents, 
and praying for parents forgotten by their children. Go to 
him and bow before him. Ask for forgiveness of your sins. 
The power of his spirit is very great. And give my deepest 
respects to Father Feodorit." 

"Fine, Anastasia. I shall do that. And, you know, I shall 
first try and do what you have asked me to." 



Upon arriving at Sergiev Posad, the town outside Moscow 
which used to be called Zagorsk, I entered the gates of the 
Trinity- Sergiev Monastery just as I used to do twenty-seven 
years ago. I first headed for the gate to the active part of 
the monastery. Before, all I had to do was introduce myself 
and ask for Father Feodorit. But this time the monk on duty 
replied that the archpriest was no longer Father Feodorit. 
There was a Father Feodorit at the monastery, living in the 
forest outside the monastery grounds — but parishioners 
did not go there. 

I told the monk that I was an acquaintance of Father Feo- 
dorit's, and in proof of this I named the monastery sanctuar- 
ies which the Father had showed me so many years ago. Then 
I was told where the forest priory was situated, and with an 
inexplicable shiver of excitement I approached the little 
wooden church in the forest. It was indeed extraordinarily 
beautiful, and blended in harmoniously with the natural envi- 
ronment. There were paths leading to the church from sev- 
eral little wooden cell-houses situated around it. 



150 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

Father Feodorit met with me on the small wooden porch 
of the forest church. I was a bit at a loss for words. I remem- 
bered Anastasia's counsel: "Only do not be embarrassed and 
try not to act surprised when you meet your spiritual father!" 
Still, I couldn't get over an inexplicable feeling of trepidation. 
Father Feodorit was old and grey, but no older than he had 
appeared twenty-seven years ago. 

We sat on some blocks of wood on the porch of the little 
forest church without a word between us. I tried to speak, 
but couldn't manage to come up with the right thing to say 
It seemed as though he already knew the whole picture and 
there was no sense in uttering words. It was as if the twenty- 
seven years since we last met had not gone by at all. It seemed 
as though we had parted only yesterday. 

I had brought along a copy of my book on Anastasia to give 
to Father Feodorit, but I felt reluctant to actually hand it to 
him. I had been showing the book to various clerics. Some 
just took one look at it and said they didn't read books like 
that. Others asked what it was about, and after my brief ex- 
planation pronounced Anastasia an infidel. I didn't feel like 
upsetting Father Feodorit and certainly didn't want him to re- 
ject her out of hand. Each time someone had tried to speak 
ill of Anastasia, a feeling of resistance had welled up in me. I 
even had a row about it with the deacon of the Novospassky 
Monastery 3 He pointed out two women wearing dark cloth- 
ing and black head-scarves and said: 

"That is how God-fearing women should be." 

I responded: 

"If Anastasia is happy and enjoying life, that may well be 
pleasing to God. It is more pleasant to see people enjoying 
life than being dull and downcast like that." 

3 Novospassky Monastery — claimed to be the oldest monastery in Moscow, 
dating back to the founding of Moscow in 1147 by Prince Yury Dolgoruky 



Father Feodorit 151 

So it was with some trepidation that I finally got out my 
book and handed it to Father Feodorit. He took it quietly 
and held it in the palm of one hand. 

He began gently stroking it with his other hand, as though 
feeling something with his palms, and asked: 

"Do you want me to read it?" And, without waiting for an 
answer, added: "Fine, leave it with me." 

Two days later, I paid a morning visit to Father Feodorit. 
We sat there in the forest on a tiny bench near the Father's 
cell. And we talked about all sorts of things. While his man- 
ner of speaking was pretty much the same as twenty-seven 
years ago, one thing bothered me: why did Father Feodorit 
look just a bit younger than twenty-seven years ago? And all at 
once he broke off his train of thought and said: 

"You know, Vladimir, your Father Feodorit has passed on." 

At first I was speechless, but then managed to ask: 

"Then who are you?" 

"I am Father Feodorit," he replied, looking at me with just 
a faint trace of a smile. I then asked him: 

"Tell me, where is his grave?" 

"In the old cemetery." 

"I'd like to see it. Can you tell me how to get there?" 

He didn't say anything about the grave, only: 

"Come and see me again whenever you have the time." 

And then an incredible experience began taking place. 

"Time for dinner," said Father Feodorit. "Come, I'll give 
you something to eat." 

In a small hut which served as a refectory I sat down to 
table. The table was set out with a tureen of borsch, mashed 
potatoes, fish and a drink with stewed fruit. He poured some 
borsch into a bowl for me, and I began eating. The Father 
himself did not eat. He simply sat at the table. 

As soon as I started in on the potatoes, I felt a delightful 
taste in my mouth. It brought back memories. The potatoes 



152 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

tasted exactly as they had done in the monastery refectory 
twenty-seven years ago. I had remembered it all my life since 
then. My head began spinning. On the one hand, here was 
a different Father Feodorit sitting beside me; on the other 
hand, he talked and behaved exactly as I remembered from 
before. 

I recalled how one time, many years ago, when we were to- 
gether in one of the rooms of the monastery, Father Feodorit 
had suggested I have my picture taken with him. I agreed. 
He called over one of the monks who had a camera and he 
took our picture. Now I decided to use this to introduce 
some clarity to my present situation. I knew that monks did 
not like to pose for pictures. And the thought came to me to 
ask Father Feodorit if he would mind if I had a colour picture 
taken of us and that I also wanted to take one of the little 
forest church. If he refused, that would mean he was not the 
same Father Feodorit, not my Father Feodorit. And so I sug- 
gested: 

"Let me have my picture taken with you." 

Father Feodorit did not refuse, and we had our picture tak- 
en. And I also took a snapshot of the little church. It turned 
out rather well, even though I had a very simple camera. 

As I was leaving, Father Feodorit gave me a small travel 
Bible. It was not laid out in verses, like all the other Bibles I 
had seen, but simply in running text, as in an ordinary book. 
He advised me: 

"When you cite the Bible in your book, you should indi- 
cate the precise chapter you are quoting from." 4 

I asked him whether he would be open to receiving and 
talking with people who wished to meet with Anastasia, so 



4 The Russian edition of Anastasia includes no chapter-and-verse referenc- 
es; those in the English edition of Book i were added by the translator and 
editor. 



Father Feodorit 153 

they wouldn't have to travel such a long distance to the Sibe- 
rian taiga. To which he replied: 

"You know, I still haven't fully understood myself. So, for 
now, just come alone, whenever you have the time." 

I was disappointed by Father Feodorit's refusal to see other 
people, but I wasn't about to press the matter. My conversa- 
tion with him on a variety of subjects led me to the follow- 
ing conclusion: in Russian monasteries there are to be found 
certain elders whose wisdom and simplicity of expression far 
surpasses the art of countless numbers of denominational 
preachers, either of the home-grown or imported variety 

But why are you silent, you elders of Russia that have been 
endowed with such wisdom? Is this something to which you 
have been led on your own, or are there dark forces of some 
kind that are preventing you from speaking out? People 
come to a church service, and it turns out to be in a language 
they don't understand. 5 And then people flock in droves and 
even pay money to hear preachers talk in a language they can 
understand. Maybe that is why so many Russians flock to for- 
eign holy places and ignore their own. 

I always felt a sense of peace in my heart after speaking 
with Father Feodorit. The way he talks is a lot simpler, clear- 
er and more understandable than the vast majority of the 
preachers I went to hear after meeting with Anastasia in my 
efforts to make some sense of what she said. I want others 
to have a good experience, too. But when will you speak out, 
wise elders of Russia? 



'Russian Orthodox services are conducted in Old Church Slavonic, which 
is an ancient distant relative of Russian but barely comprehensible to to- 
day's Russian speakers. 



Chapter Twenty-Five 



The Space of Loyi 



After the sale of the first print-run of the book about Anas- 
tasia I received a royalty payment. I went to VDNKh, 1 now 
known as the All-Russian Exhibition Centre. For some rea- 
son, I always enjoyed being there. This time I walked past 
the multitude of snack bars and shashlik buffets, tempting 
me with their delicious aromas, and fought against my incli- 
nation to buy all the delicacies in sight. Even though I had 
money in my pocket, and a fair amount at that, I decided I 
would now spend it more wisely And all at once, another in- 
credible thing happened. It wasn't loud, but, unmistakably 
and distinctly, I heard Anastasia's voice. 

"Buy yourself something to eat, Vladimir. Buy whatever 
you like. You do not have to scrimp on food any more." 

I kept on walking a few steps past the open snack bars, and 
again came the voice: 

"Why are you walking on past? Please, have something to 
eat, Vladimir." 

"Come on now, I'm having hallucinations!" I thought. 

I walked over to a bench alongside a broad pathway where 
there was hardly anyone else around. I sat down and whis- 
pered quietly, bending over so people wouldn't think I was 
talking to myself. 



1 VDNKh (pronounced veh-deh-en-KHA) — the Russian initials denoting 
the former Economic Achievements Exposition, a huge exhibition and 
recreational complex (complete with a large park, fountains and unusual 
architecture) covering 140 hectares in the north-east sector of Moscow. 



The Space of Love 155 

'Anastasia, am I really hearing your voice?" 

And I heard the answer distinct and clear: 

"You are hearing my voice, Vladimir." 

"Hello, Anastasia. Why didn't you talk to me earlier? So many 
questions have been piling up. Questions people have been ask- 
ing at readers' gatherings, including a lot I can't answer." 

"I have been talking to you. I have been trying all this time 
to talk with you. But you have not been hearing me. Once, 
when you decided to do away with yourself, I even cried out, I 
was so worried, but to no avail. You did not hear me. I figured 
out what I needed to do and started singing. It was this song 
that the two girls picked up and played on their violins at the 
metro station. They heard it and started playing. As soon as 
you recognised the same melody you had heard me sing in the 
taiga, you remembered me. I was so worried at the time, I 
thought my milk was going to give out." 

"What milk, Anastasia?" 

"My breast-milk. The milk for our son. After all, I did bear 
him, Vladimir." 

"Did bear... Anastasia!... Was it hard? How are you doing 
there all alone in the taiga? How is he? You told me — I re- 
member your saying — it wouldn't be at the right time." 

"Everything is fine. Nature awakened early and is now 
helping me. And our son is fine. He is a strong lad. He is al- 
ready smiling. Only his skin is a little dry, just like yours. But 
that is nothing, it will pass. Everything will be fine. You shall 
see. It is more difficult for you now than for us. But take one 
more step. Finish the writing. I know how hard it has been 
for you, and it will not be so easy in the future either. But 
keep going. Keep going on your own path." 

"But Anastasia..." 

I wanted to tell her that writing a book is harder than run- 
ning a business. I wanted to tell her about how things stood 
with my family and the firm. About all the ups and downs of 



156 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

the past year. About how I no longer have a home and family, 
and almost ended up in the loony bin. I wanted to give her a 
good talking to about those dreams of hers, so she wouldn't 
aim too high with them, wouldn't keep on tempting people. 
But then I thought: why upset a nursing mother? — her milk 
might indeed turn bad. 

And so I said: 

"Don't you worry about trifles, Anastasia. I don't have any 
particular difficulties at the moment. What's the fuss? I've 
written a book. And it was easier than drawing up a business 
plan. When you draw up a business plan, there are a lot of 
different factors you have to foresee in advance. But here you 
simply sit down and describe what's already happened. Just as 
in the jokes about the Chukchi: 'I sing what I see.' 2 

'And besides... you know something, Anastasia? Those 
dreams of yours, which I thought were sheer fantasy, they're 
starting to come true. It's incredible, but they are coming 
true. Look, the book is finished. You dreamt about it, and 
now it exists. People are really reading it enthusiastically 
The Moscow papers are already writing about it. Readers are 
writing poetry about you, about Nature, about Russia. 

"I found the picture we talked about in the archives of the 
Trinity- Sergiev Monastery. The picture has been preserved, 
it's entitled "The One and Only by a Single Line". 3 I shall 
publish it. 

2 1 sing what I see — a reference to a song of the Chukchi (the native people 
of the Chukotka Peninsula in Siberia), where the singer sings about what- 
ever he happens to see. This particular phrase has given rise to many Rus- 
sian jokes. In this case the author is light-heartedly applying the phrase to 
his own writing activity. 

3 The One and Only by a Single Line — this picture in the private collection of the 
Trinity-Sergiev Monastery is a copy of a famous engraving by Claude Mellan 
(1598-1688), Veil of St Veronica (1649). It represents the face of Christ Jesus 
('the One and Only 5 ) surmounted by a crown of thorns and is executed by a 
single spiral line in 166 revolutions. 



The Space of Love 157 

"And, can you imagine, the bards... you remember telling 
me about the bards?" 

"Yes, I remember, Vladimir." 

"Surprising as it is, this too is starting to come about. I 
was at one readers' conference where I was approached by 
this chap with dark blond hair. He handed me an audiocas- 
sette and said, in terse, military fashion: 'Songs for Anastasia. 
Please accept.' 

"The journalists, readers and two of the staff of the Mos- 
cow Research Centre, Alexander Solntsev 4 and Alexander Za- 
kotsky, who had come to the conference — they all listened in 
silence to the tape. Later a number of people began making 
copies of it. They made copies and at the same time tried to 
track down the man who had given it to me — whose looks, 
apart from his dark-blond hair and short stature, didn't have 
much to say for themselves. He had appeared, it seemed, out 
of nowhere, and disappeared just as mysteriously He turned 
out to be a submarine officer from St. Petersburg, a scientist 
by the name of Alexander Korotynsky 5 He later told me how 
the submarine he was on managed to rise to the surface after 
an accident. How he had been confidently led by a series of 
coincidences in connection with this cassette. Led to hand 



4 Alexander Vasilievich Solntsev (1951-) — a Siberian entrepreneur, a former 
acquaintance of Vladimir Megre's. After spotting a small book with Meg- 
re's name on the cover, Solntsev (who by this time had relocated with his 
family to Moscow and lost sight of his former colleague) contacted the au- 
thor and in March 1997 became founding director of the Moscow-based 
"Anastasia" Research Centre, managing the publication of Megre's books, 
organising readers' conferences, clubs, trips to dolmens, etc. More recently 
Solntsev has devoted himself to setting up an eco-village in the Smolensk 
Oblast and reinvigorating the tradition of cultivation of flax. He has also 
authored a book on the Caucasus, entitled Dolmens. 

'Since this book was published Alexander Korotynsky has released several 
song albums inspired by the Ringing Cedars Series. 



158 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

it to me. Not only that, but Korotynsky turned out to be 
a bard as well. And his song Khram (The Church) contains 
whole phrases which you said to me. Remember these, for 
example? 

Believe not others' words — 
Once said, they're gone as wind. 
Many will see the Church 
But few will enter in. 

Our life may be a race: 

From floor to floor we're thrown. 

But every one must face 

The choice he's made his own. 

"Besides, Korotynsky doesn't really have a singing voice. 
He practically recites when he sings. But that very fact goes 
to prove what you said about the power of the word connect- 
ed to the soul by invisible threads. Korotynsky the Bard is a 
living example." 

"For all the bright joy you have been giving to people, for 
the purification of souls, I thank you, Bard, I thank you," said 
Anastasia. 

"Just think — another officer!" I mused. "Grutsia, who 
first printed the book — he was an officer. And the home- 
less colonel who drew the picture for it. And then there was 
a pilot, a regimental commander, who's been helping me sell 
the books. And now the first one to bring me songs turns out 
to be an officer. What is it about your Ray that seems to set 
officers' hearts afire in particular? Do you shine your Ray on 
them more than others?" 

"Many have been touched by my Ray, Vladimir, but it 
sparks aspirations only when there is something there to set 
aflame." 



The Space of Love 159 

"Your dream, Anastasia, is indeed turning more and more 
into reality. People are grasping hold of it, they understand 
it. The homeless colonel understood. He was a chance ac- 
quaintance — pity he's gone. I saw him lying dead there. His 
face was all smeared with dirt, but he was smiling. Dead, but 
still smiling. Did you do something there with your Ray? 
What does that mean, when someone dies with a smile on 
their face?" 

"That Man that was with you... he is now with the Bard, 
treading the invisible pathway. His smile is saving many 
hearts from bullets more terrible than the leaden ones." 

"Your dream, Anastasia, is entering upon our world, and 
it really seems as though our world is beginning to change. 
There are certain people who feel and understand you — they 
show evidence of new strength coming from somewhere, and 
that is changing the world. The world is becoming just a little 
better. 

"But you, Anastasia... there you are as before, in the taiga, 
in your glade. I would not be able to live in such conditions, 
and you would not be able to live in our world. What then is 
the point of your love? Your love is meaningless, and I still do 
not understand my relationship to you. But what's the point 
since it's so clear we can never be together? Never close." 

"We are together, Vladimir. Close." 

"Together?! Where are you? When people love each oth- 
er, they strive to be always close to each other. To embrace 
and caress each other. You're too different. You don't need 
that." 

"I do need it. Just like everyone else. And I am making it 
happen." 

"But how?" 

"Right now, for example. Can you not feel the gentle touch 
of the breeze, feel its caressing embrace? And the warm 
touch of the Sun's glistening rays on your face? Can you not 



160 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

hear the birds singing so cheerfully and the leaves rustling on 
the tree you are sitting under? Listen — it is a most unusual 
rustling!" 

"But that — everything you just mentioned — that's for 
everyone. In any case, are you responsible for all that?" 

"Love dissolved in Space for one can touch the hearts of 
many." 

"Why dissolve Love in Space?" 

"So that close to a loved one there will always be a Space 
of Love. This is the essence of Love, this is its designated 
purpose." 

"It's all pretty confusing to me. And your voice... Before, I 
never heard anything at a distance, but now I do. Why?" 

"It is not the voice that you hear at a distance. You need to 
listen not with your ears, but with your heart. You need to 
learn how to listen with your heart." 

"Why should I bother learning? You can just talk with me 
the way you're doing right now, with your voice." 

"I shall not be able to do that indefinitely" 

"But you're doing it right now After all, I can hear you." 

"Grandfather is helping us at the moment. You go have 
a talk with him. I need to go feed our son, and there are so 
many other things to do. I do want to get them all done." 

"So, it works with your grandfather, but not with you. 
Why?" 

"Because Grandfather is somewhere in your vicinity right 
now Very close to you." 

"Where?" 



Chapter Twenty- Six 



I looked about me. There was Anastasia's grandfather, stand- 
ing right close to the bench, using his walking-stick to push 
a piece of litter someone had thoughtlessly tossed on the 
grass toward a rubbish bin. I jumped up. We shook hands. 
His kindly eyes were sparkling with cheer, and he talked in 
simple terms. Not like his father. When I saw Anastasia's 
great-grandfather back in the taiga, he hardly said a word, and 
his eyes kept staring into space, as though they were looking 
right through you. 

Grandfather and I sat down on the bench, and I asked 
him: 

"How did you get here? How did you find me?" 

"It wasn't much of a problem getting here and finding you 
with Anastasia's help." 

"She's really something, eh?! She's had a child! She said she 
would have one, and she did. Alone, out there in the taiga, 
not in any hospital. It must have been painful for her. Did 
she cry out?" 

"Now why would you think it was painful for her?" 

"Well, women, when they give birth — it's painful. Some 
of them even die during childbirth." 

"It's painful only when a child is conceived in sin. As 
a result of fleshly lusts. Women pay for this with pain in 
childbirth and torments afterward in life. If the conception 
takes place with higher aspirations, the pain only intensifies 
the feeling of the great joy of creation on the part of the 
mother." 



162 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Where does the pain go, then? How can it intensify joy?" 

"When a woman is raped, what does she feel? Of course 
she feels pain and revulsion. But when she gives in of her own 
free will, that same pain is transformed into different sensa- 
tions. The same is true in regard to childbirth." 

"Does that mean Anastasia experienced a painless child- 
birth?" 

"Of course it was painless. And she chose a suitable day, a 
warm and sunny day" 

"What do you mean, she chose? Childbirth happens quite 
unexpectedly" 

"Unexpectedly, if the conception simply takes place by 
chance. A mother is always capable of delaying or accelerat- 
ing her baby's appearance by a few days." 

"But weren't you aware of when the baby was due? Didn't 
you take steps to help her?" 

"We did feel something happening on that day It was a 
splendid day We walked over to her glade. Saw the she-bear 
sitting at the edge of the glade, moaning because her feelings 
were hurt. She kept moaning and pounding her paw on the 
ground with all her might. Anastasia was lying on the same 
spot where her mother had given birth to her, and there was 
this little ball of life lying on her breast. The she-wolf was 
licking him." 

And why was the bear moaning? How had her feelings 
been hurt?" 

'Anastasia had called the wolf over instead of her." 

"She could have gone to her on her own." 

"They do not approach Anastasia without an invitation. 
Just think what would happen if they all came uninvited, 
whenever they felt like it." 

"I wonder how she's managing with the baby now." 

"Why don't you go and see for yourself, if you're inter- 
ested?" 



Anastasia's grandfather 163 

"She told me I shouldn't communicate with him until I 
purge myself of something. First of all I have to go 'round to 
the holy places. But I don't have enough money for that." 

"Don't go by what she said — she doesn't always make 
sense. You're the father, after all. You should do what you 
think best. You could buy a whole bunch of rompers and oth- 
er baby clothes, packages of diapers, a little jacket, a rattle 
maybe, and demand that she dress the baby normally, and not 
make him suffer. He's all naked out there in the forest." 

"I've been wanting to do that ever since I heard about my 
son. I will do it. As for not making sense, I think you hit the 
nail right on the head. That's probably why I don't really un- 
derstand my feelings toward her. First it was amazement, now 
some kind of feeling of respect has appeared, and something 
else besides which I can't grasp hold of. But not on the order 
of love for a woman. I still remember the kind of feelings 
I had when I loved a woman before. This here's something 
quite different. It's quite possible that she cannot be loved 
in the ordinary sense of the word. Something gets in the way 
Maybe it's her illogicality, her failure to make complete sense 
all the time." 

"Don't take Anastasia's illogicality, Vladimir, for stupidity. 
It is her seeming illogicality that is drawing forgotten laws 
out of the depths of the Universe, and possibly creating new 
laws. 

"The forces of both light and darkness are occasionally as- 
tounded at her apparent illogicality, and then all at once the 
simple truth of being that everyone knows starts flaring up 
more brightly. Even we don't always comprehend our Anas- 
tasia. Even though she's our own granddaughter and great- 
granddaughter. She grew up under our very eyes. And since 
we don't always understand, we are not always able to be of 
significant help. And so she's often left alone with her own 
aspirations. Very much alone. 



164 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Take you, for example. Here she's gone and met with you, 
opened up her whole self to you, and to others, thanks to the 
book. We wanted to stop her. We wanted to stop her from 
loving. To us her choice of you seemed incomprehensible, 
even absurd." 

"I still don't understand her choice myself," I admitted. 
"My readers, too, wonder. 'Who are you?' they keep asking. 
'Why did Anastasia choose you?' I can't give them an answer. 
I realise that, according to all logic, she should be in the com- 
pany of some kind of intellectually- or spiritually-minded 
person. He would no doubt be able to understand and love 
her. They could be more useful together. But me, I have to 
change my whole life, I have to deal with a whole lot of ques- 
tions which for other more educated people have long been 
clear and comprehensible." 

"Do you regret now how your life has changed?" 

"I don't know I'm still trying to make sense of it all. As 
to why she picked me out in particular, I can't answer that. I 
look for an answer but can't find one." 

'And how are you looking for an answer?" 

"I'm trying to understand things within myself — who I 
really am." 

"Maybe there's something special there, eh?" 

"Could be there's something there. After all, they say: like 
attracts like." 

"Vladimir, did Anastasia talk to you about pride and self- 
conceit? Did she speak about the consequences of this 
sin?" 

"Yes, she said it was a mortal sin, leading people away 
from the truth." 

"Well, she didn't pick you out, Vladimir. She didn't pick 
you out, she picked you up. She picked you up like a worn-out 
good-for-nothing. We didn't realise that ourselves at first. I 
hope you're not too offended?" 



Anastasia's grandfather 165 

"I don't entirely agree with you. I had a family — a wife and 
a daughter, and my business wasn't doing too badly. So, I may 
not have been anything special, but I wasn't at the bottom of 
the heap, either — not someone to pick up like a tramp or a 
useless piece of garbage." 

"You haven't been in love with your wife for quite a while. 
You have your own life and interests, she has hers. It was only 
the daily routine that kept you together, or rather, the inertia of 
past feelings, which have been getting weaker and weaker over 
time. Neither have you had anything to talk about with your 
daughter. She's not interested in your business dealings. That's 
something that seemed important only to you. It brought in 
a financial income. But today's income may well be nothing 
tomorrow, or a loss, or a bankruptcy even. And then you were 
ill. You practically killed your stomach. With that dissolute 
lifestyle of yours there was no way you could climb out of your 
hole of disease. It was all over. And no thing was left." 

"So what's it to you people? What am I to her? An experi- 
ment? Is she looking for some kind of fringe benefit?" 

"It's simply that she's fallen in love, Vladimir. Genuinely, 
sincerely, just as with everything else she does. And she's 
happy that she hasn't taken anyone out of your world capable 
of bringing happiness to another woman. She has not placed 
herself in any privileged position. She's glad to be just like 
other women." 

"So, it's just a whim of hers, eh? She wants a typical hus- 
band from our world — one who smokes, goes out carousing... 
Well, I must say, that's quite a self-sacrifice just for a whim!" 

"Her love is genuine. It's not a whim, she's not looking for 
any fringe benefit. Even though she appeared illogical, at first, 
to the forces of both light and darkness, to us and to others, in 
reality she clearly illuminated the whole concept and meaning 
of Love. Not with words, doctrines or moral teachings, but 
with actual achievements in the lives of people in your world, 



166 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

including your own personal life. The forces of light, the 
forces of the Creator, speak through her Love. And not only 
do they speak, they show clearly as never before: 'Look and 
see, see the power of a woman, the power of pure Love.' At 
the very last moment before death it is capable of giving new 
life. Capable of lifting up any Man, rescuing him from the 
tenacious paws of darkness and carrying him into the bright- 
ness of infinity Capable of surrounding him with the Space of 
Love and giving him a new life, which is life eternal. 

"Her Love, Vladimir, will restore to you the love of your 
wife, the respect of your daughter. Thousands of women 
will look at you with fervent glances of love. You will have 
complete freedom of choice. And if, from all the varied mani- 
festations of the external appearance of love, you succeed in 
catching sight of that special one, Anastasia will be very hap- 
py In any case you will be rich and famous, there will be no 
possibility of bankruptcy for you. The book you have written 
will circulate all over the world and bring you a return — and 
not just a monetary return, it will give you and others a power 
greater than mere physical or material strength." 

"I must say," I observed, "the book is really starting to sell 
quite well. But I did write it myself, even though some people 
say Anastasia helped me in some way. What do you think — is 
it just my book, or did she have a hand in writing it?" 

"You did everything a writer is supposed to do. You got the 

paper, your hand controlled the pen and you described what 

happened. You put down all your deductions in your own 

language. You saw to the publication of the book. What you 

did was no different from a writer's usual course of action." 

"So, the book is mine alone? Anastasia didn't do anything?" 

"No, she did not. She did not manipulate the pen on the paper." 

"But you talk as though she still facilitated its appearance 

in some way If so, explain in more detail. What exactly did 

she do?" 



Anastasia's grandfather 167 

"To make it possible for you to write this book, Vladimir, 
Anastasia gave her life." 

"Okay. Now everything's got obscured again. How come? 
How is it possible for her, living in the forest, to give her life 
for some book? Who is she? She herself says: Man. Other 
people call her an alien, or a goddess. Now that all ends up in 
some serious confusion. I really want to straighten this out 
for myself." 

"It's all very simple, Vladimir. Man is the only creature in 
the Universe who can live on all planes of existence at once. 
In their earthly existence most people see themselves only as 
an earthly, materialised manifestation. But there are those 
who perceive other levels of being, levels invisible to the ma- 
terial senses. 

"Calling Anastasia a goddess is not a sin against the truth. 
The main difference between Man and all other forms of ex- 
istence lies in Man's ability to create the present and the fu- 
ture by his thoughts, inventing forms and images which are 
afterward materialised. The clarity, harmoniousness, pace of 
thinking and mental purity of Man as a Creator is what de- 
termines the future. And in this sense Anastasia is a goddess. 
For the pace at which she thinks, the clarity and purity of the 
images she formulates, are such that she alone has proved ca- 
pable of withstanding the whole dark mass of opposing forc- 
es. She alone. Only there is no way of telling how long she'll 
be able to hold out. She's still waiting, believing that people 
will realise what is happening and will help her. Believing that 
they will cease producing darkness and hell." 

"Who's producing darkness and hell?" 

"Prophets who believe in and talk about the end of the 
world — they themselves are producing mental visualisations 
of the end of the world. The whole mass of teachings foretell- 
ing the ultimate doom of mankind, are hastening the day with 
their visualisations. There are a lot of them, a whole lot of 



168 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

them. And these people have no idea, while they seek salva- 
tion for themselves and search for the Promised Land, that a 
hell is being prepared specifically for them." 

"But the people that are talking about the Last Judgement 
or a global catastrophe, they actually believe in it, they're sin- 
cerely praying for the salvation of their souls." 

"They are motivated not by faith in the light, in the Love 
that is God, but by fear. And this fearful scenario is some- 
thing they are fashioning for themselves. Think, Vladimir! 
Try to imagine. Here we are, you and I, sitting on this bench. 
Ifou see lots of people before your eyes. All at once some of 
them start to go into fits of convulsion from terrible pain, as 
though they were sinners. All around us on the Earth millions 
of corpses are rotting, while you and I sit here untouched by 
it all and watch. It's as though we are sitting on a bench in 
Paradise. But doesn't it wrench your heart to see all the hor- 
rifying images of what's going on? Wouldn't it be better to die 
or fall asleep the moment before witnessing such tragedy?" 

"What if all the righteous who are saved," I wondered 
aloud, "are in the Promised Land, where there are no rotting 
corpses around, no frightful images?" 

"When you get news, even from the other side of the 
world, about the death of a loved one, or a relative, don't you 
feel grief and sorrow in your heart?" 

'Anyone in a situation like that would surely be distressed." 

"Then how can you imagine Paradise for yourself, realising 
that most of your fellow-countrymen, your friends and rela- 
tives, have already perished, and others are dying in frightful 
torment?! How hardened must a heart become, how deep a 
pit of gloom must it fall into, to feel pleasure under such cir- 
cumstances? Such souls are not needed in the kingdom of 
light. For they themselves are the creatures of darkness." 

"But why do the great teachers of mankind," I queried, "— 
the ones who've put or are now putting various doctrines down 



Anastasia's grandfather 169 

on paper — talk about the end of the world, the Last Judge- 
ment? Who, then, are they? Where are they leading people? 
Why do they talk that way?" 

"It's difficult to define precisely what they're getting at. 
It's possible they will bring about a change in people's con- 
scious awareness simply because the crowds of people they 
draw find their ideas so attractive." 

"Those who are alive today can effect such a change," I ob- 
served. "But what about those who came before and left their 
teachings for us as a legacy?" 

"They might have indeed prepared the way for a change, in 
the hope that their followers would make the change happen 
and discover the truth. Perhaps they're waiting for the course 
of history to show the vast majority of mankind the hopeless- 
ness of their present path, and counting on ensuing events to 
help them turn their followers and believers to the light." 

"If you people knew all this before, why did you sit there 
in the forest and remain silent all these years? Why didn't 
you try to explain it to somebody earlier? Anastasia said your 
people have been living this way of life for generations, over 
thousands of years, preserving the truth about Man's pristine 
origins." 

"In various corners of the Earth," the grandfather replied, 
"there are people who have preserved a way of life apart from 
technocracy, making use of capacities which are inherent only 
in Man. From time to time they have made attempts to share 
their conscious awareness with others. And each time those 
who tried perished before they could say anything substantial. 
Even though they presented powerful thought-forms and im- 
ages, they were resisted by the vast majority of mankind." 

"You mean to say they would trample on Anastasia and 
crush her?" 

'Anastasia has somehow managed to stand up to them. At 
least so far. Maybe it's because of her illogicality!" 



170 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

The old fellow fell silent, thoughtfully tracing the point of 
his walking-stick on the ground to form incomprehensible 
symbols. 

I sat there, deep in thought. Finally I asked him: 

"Then why did she keep repeating to me all the time: lam 
Man! lam. a woman] — if she's really a goddess, as you say?" 

"In her earthly, materialised sense of existence she is simply 
Man, a human being, a woman. And even though her lifestyle 
is somewhat unusual, she is still capable, just like anyone else, 
of experiencing feelings of joy and sorrow, loving and wanting 
to be loved. 

"But all the abilities she has are inherent in Man, in every 
Man — that is, in Man in his pristine state. The abilities she 
had which seemed so extraordinary will no longer seem so 
exceptional to you once you learn what your modern science 
has to say about them. And as to the other abilities she has 
which are still not understood, rest assured an explanation 
will be found. And it will all go to show that she is simply 
Man, a female of the human species. 

"There is one phenomenon you will soon encounter, how- 
ever, which you won't be able to understand. Nor will your 
scientists be able to explain it. Even my father doesn't know 
exactly what kind of phenomenon it is. Your world calls such 
things anomalies. But I beg of you, Vladimir, don't identify 
this phenomenon with Anastasia. It will appear right beside 
her, but it is not in her. Try to find the inner strength to see, 
to feel in her what is simply Man. 

"She tries to be like everyone else. For some reason, she 
feels it's important — she feels a need — a need to prove that 
she is Man. This is difficult for her, since in doing so she must 
still keep her principles intact. But, then, don't we all have 
principles that are sacred to us?" 

"But what kind of phenomenon are you talking about — 
this thing you won't define and which science can't explain?" 



Chapter Twenty-Seven 



The anomaly 



"When we buried Anastasia's parents, she was still very 
young," Anastasia's grandfather began. "She wasn't yet able 
to walk or talk. My father and I dug a hole in the ground, 
with the animals' help. We placed branches at the bottom, 
put the bodies of Anastasia's parents in the hole and covered 
them over with grass and earth. We stood there a while on 
the burial mound without saying a word. Little Anastasia sat 
a short distance away in the glade, watching a bug crawling 
along her arm. We thought it was just as well that she wasn't 
yet able to be fully aware of the misfortune that had befallen 
her. Then we quietly walked away" 

"What do you mean, you walked away? You just walked 
off and abandoned this poor, ignorant little girl to her own 
devices?" 

"We didn't abandon her. We left her in the same spot where 
her mother had given birth to her. You have a concept known 
as Shambala, 1 or Motherland. The meaning of these words is 
becoming more and more abstract. Motherland — that is lit- 
erally MOTHER-LAND. 2 Mother! In anticipation of their 



Shambala — a Tibetan word indicating 'the source of happiness' in Ori- 
ental religions, and signifying the legendary 'land of the gods' — a place 
through which the Earth is connected with the Divine. 

Motherland — the closest English equivalent of the Russian word Rodina, 
derived from the name of God the Creator Rod in the ancient Slavic tradi- 
tion (the word rod also signifies 'origin', 'derivation' or 'birth') and the root 
na signifying 'mother'. In the original Russian text, the word is printed as 
'ROD I NA'. 



172 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

child's appearance in the world, parents ought to create a 
Space for him. An environment of kindness and love. And 
to give him a piece of the Motherland, which, like a moth- 
er's womb, both preserves the body and caresses the soul. It 
imparts the wisdom of creation and assists in obtaining the 
truth. 

'And what can a woman give her child who is born amidst 
stone walls? What kind of world has she made ready for him? 
Or has she given any thought at all to the world in which her 
child is to live? In that case the world will do with him as it 
likes. It will strive to subject this little human being unto it- 
self, making him a mere cog, or a slave. And the mother will 
simply become an observer, as she has not made ready for her 
child any Space of Love. 

"You see, Vladimir, Nature — the Nature surrounding 
Anastasia's mother, the creatures large and small — treated 
her as they would treat any Man who lived the way she did: as 
a friend, as a wise and good deity, one who had created around 
her a world of Love. Anastasia's parents were happy and kind 
people, they very much loved one another, loved the Earth, 
and the Space around them responded to them with Love. 
Little Anastasia was born into this Space of Love and at once 
became its centre. 

"Many creatures will not touch a newborn. A mother cat 
may nurse a puppy or a mother dog a kitten. Many wild ani- 
mals are capable of nursing and taking care of human offspring. 
But these animals have become wild to people in your world. 
To Anastasia's mother and father they played quite another 
role. The creatures treated them entirely differently. Anasta- 
sia's mother gave birth to her in the glade, and many creatures 
were witness to the birth. They saw how the woman they re- 
vered became a mother and bore another Man, another human 
being. When they witnessed the birth, their feelings toward 
their human friend, their love for her, intertwined with their 



The anomaly 173 

own parenting instincts, giving birth to a new exalted manifes- 
tation of light. 

"Everything, absolutely everything in that surrounding 
Space, from the tiniest bug and blade of grass to the seem- 
ingly ferocious beast, was ready, unhesitatingly, to give its life 
for the sake of that little being. And there was nothing in that 
surrounding Space of Motherland, created and bestowed by 
its mother, that could possibly have threatened that being. 
Everything would look after and cherish this human being. 

"To Anastasia the little glade is literally a mother's womb. 
The glade is her living Motherland. Powerful and kind. And 
inextricably tied by a natural, living thread to the whole Uni- 
verse. To the whole creation of the Grand Creator. 

"The little glade is her living Motherland. It came from 
her mother and her father. And from the One and Only, the 
Original Father. We could never be a substitute for it. That is 
why, after burying her parents, we walked away. 

"Three days later, while we were approaching the glade, we felt 
a tension in the air, we heard wolves howling. Then we saw. . . 

"Little Anastasia was sitting quietly atop the burial mound. 
One of her cheeks was smeared with earth. We realised she 
had been sleeping on the mound. Tiny tears were streaming 
from her eyes and falling onto the ground. She was crying, 
noiselessly, with only an occasional sob. And she kept strok- 
ing and stroking the burial mound with her little hands. 

"She wasn't able to talk, but she did say her first words on 
this mound. We heard them. At first she simply uttered syl- 
lables: Ma-ma, then Pa-pa. She repeated this several times. 
Then she added a syllable to each: Ma-moch-ka, Pa-poch-ka, 
Ma-moch-ka, Pa-poch-ka? IamAna-sta-SI-ya. I now have you no 
more. Eh? Only my grand-pas? Eh? 

3 Mamochka, Papochka — in Russian, common diminutives of Mama and Papa 
respectively. 



174 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"My father was the first to realise it: even as we were bury- 
ing her parents, little Anastasia, sitting there in the glade and 
watching the bug, was fully aware of the whole depth of the 
misfortune that had befallen her. She used her will-power to 
refrain from showing her feelings. With her mother's milk she 
had been imbued with the wisdom and strength of her pris- 
tine origins. Nursing mothers have that capacity, Vladimir. 
The capacity to pass along to their baby, together with moth- 
er's milk, the conscious awareness and wisdom of the ages, 
right back to their pristine origins. 

'Anastasia's mother knew how to do this, and used this 
method to full advantage. To the fullest possible advantage. 

"Since Anastasia didn't want us to see her crying, we didn't 
go out into the glade, and didn't approach the mound, but we 
couldn't tear ourselves from the spot. So we just stood there, 
observing what was going on. 

"Supporting herself on the burial mound, little Anastasia 
attempted to stand on her little feet. She didn't do it on 
the first try, but still, she managed to stand up. She stood 
there swaying back and forth, stretching her arms out a lit- 
tle to each side, and finally took her first timid step away 
from her parents' grave, then a second step. Her little feet 
got mixed up in the grass and her little body lost its balance 
and started to fall. But the fall — well, that was something 
quite unusual. 

'At the moment she fell, a barely noticeable bluish glow 
came flooding over the glade, and changed the Earth's laws 
of gravity just on that particular spot. It touched us too with 
some kind of mellow languor. Anastasia's body didn't fall, but 
gradually and smoothly descended to the ground. Once she 
got up on her feet again, the bluish light disappeared, and the 
normal gravitation field was restored. 

"With careful and hesitating footsteps, Anastasia went 
over to a little branch lying in the glade and was able to pick it 



The anomaly 175 

up. We realised she had started cleaning up the glade, as her 
mother had done many times. This wee little girl then carried 
the dry branch to the edge of the glade. But once again she 
lost her balance, began to fall and dropped the branch. 

"During her fall, once more the bluish glow sparked into 
life, changing the Earth's gravitational field, and the branch 
flew over to the little pile of dry branches lying at the edge of 
the glade. 

' Anastasia got up, looked around for the branch but couldn't 
find it. Then, throwing up her little hands, with shaky steps 
she slowly made her way over to another branch. No sooner 
had she started bending over to pick it up than the branch 
itself began rising from the ground, as though a breeze had 
blown it to the edge of the glade. But there wasn't enough of a 
wind around to do this. Some invisible presence was carrying 
out little Anastasia's desires. 

"But she wanted to do everything herself, as her Mama had 
done. And, no doubt in protest against this help from her 
invisible ally, she thrust her little hand into the air and waved 
it gently above her head. 

"We looked up and saw it. Over the meadow we saw hang- 
ing a small spherical mass, pulsating and glowing with a pale- 
blue light. We could see a whole multitude of fiery discharges 
inside its transparent covering, giving the effect of multi-col- 
oured lightning. Indeed, it was very similar to large ball-light- 
ning. But it was intelligent! 

"We couldn't tell what it was made of and what kind of in- 
telligence we were dealing with. 

"We could feel some kind of unknown and unseen power 
in it. But there was no sense of fear of this power. On the 
contrary, it seemed to be radiating a pleasant, languid grace. 
We didn't feel like moving. We just felt like being." 

"But what made you think it possessed untold power?" I 
interrupted. 



176 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"My Papa noticed that. Even though it was a bright sun- 
ny day, the leaves on the trees and the petals on the flowers 
turned in its direction. In its bluish glow there was more 
power than in the Sun's rays. And it could change the Earth's 
gravitational field at the moment Anastasia fell — just in the 
right place and at just the right time. The change was so pre- 
cise that her body descended smoothly, but yet was not torn 
away from the Earth. 

'Anastasia spent a long time collecting branches. Some- 
times she would crawl, at other times walk all over the mead- 
ow with slow steps, until she had cleared them all away And 
the fiery sphere, still pulsating, hovered over the wee little 
one. But it no longer helped her pick up the branches. The 
powerful fiery sphere seemed to understand the gesture of 
her little hand and obeyed it. 

"Expanding and dissolving in Space, contracting and pro- 
ducing internal discharges (like flashbulbs) of some kind of 
energy from goodness-knows-where, the sphere would mo- 
mentarily disappear and then reappear, as though it were 
somehow excited, and this excitement caused it to sweep 
through space at incredible speed. 

"The time came when Anastasia normally lay down to 
sleep. We never compel our children to sleep, rocking them 
back and forth until they become dizzy. At this time Anasta- 
sia's mother would simply lie down herself in the usual spot 
and pretend to doze off, to show her child by example. Lit- 
tle Anastasia would crawl over to her, snuggle up against her 
warm body and peacefully fall asleep. 

'And this time Anastasia went to the spot where she was 
used to sleeping during the day with her mother. She stood 
and looked at the place where she had always slept with her 
Mama at this time, but now there was no Mama around. 

"It was not clear just what she was thinking at that mo- 
ment, only once again a tiny tear glistened in a sunbeam on 



The anomaly 177 

Anastasia's face. And right away the bluish glow came pulsat- 
ing across the glade, flashing at irregular intervals. 

'Anastasia raised her little head, saw the pulsating mass of 
light, sat down on the grass and began staring at it continu- 
ously. It remained still under her gaze. For some time she just 
sat there staring like that. Then she held out both her little 
arms in its direction, as she was wont to do when summon- 
ing one of the creatures to her side. At that point the fiery 
sphere sparked up in a multitude of powerful lightning bolts, 
reaching out beyond its blue covering, and... made a dash for 
her little arms like a fiery comet. Looking as though it had 
the ability to sweep away everything in its path, it took only a 
split second to reach Anastasia's face, start rotating and with 
one of its lightning flashes wipe away a tiny tear glistening on 
her cheek. And at this point it extinguished all the discharges 
and became a pale blue, faintly glowing sphere in the arms of 
the little one sitting on the grass. 

"For a time Anastasia sat there holding it, examining it and 
stroking it with her hands. Then she got up, lifted up the blue 
sphere, and with careful steps carried it over and put it down 
on the place she used to sleep with her mother. And again she 
caressed it gently 

"The sphere took up a position on the ground and pretend- 
ed to doze off, just as Anastasia's mother had done. And the 
little girl lay down beside it. She fell asleep. She slept there 
on the grass, all curled up into a ball. The sphere took flight, 
disappearing into the heavenly heights, then spread itself low 
over the glade, as though it were a blanket. Later, once more 
contracting into a small, pulsating ball, it took up a position 
next to Anastasia, who was still sleeping on the grass, and be- 
gan stroking her hair. It was a strange and unusual caressing. 
With the most delicate luminescent and flickering threads of 
lightning, it took each individual strand of hair, lifted it and 
caressed it. 



178 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"On subsequent visits to Anastasia in her glade, we saw it 
again on several occasions. We realised that to Anastasia it 
was something quite natural, just like the Sun, or the Moon, 
or the trees and animals around her. And she had conversa- 
tions with it, just as she did with everything else around her. 
But it was evident she made a distinction between it and the 
other things in her environment. The distinction wasn't too 
noticeable in terms of outward expression, but there was a 
definite impression that she treated it with just a little more 
respect than other things, and sometimes she would even play 
up to it. She never played up to anyone else, but for some rea- 
son she allowed herself to behave this way with the sphere. It 
reacted to her mood and even played along." 

"The morning Anastasia turned four," Grandfather contin- 
ued, "we were standing at the edge of the glade waiting for 
her to wake up. We wanted to quietly watch and see how she 
would delight in the new spring day that was unfolding. 

"The sphere appeared just a moment before she woke up. 
It glistened faintly with its bluish glow, either spreading itself 
in a shower of light or dissolving over the whole Space of the 
glade. And we beheld a natural living picture made by no hu- 
man hand — it was charming and magnificent. 

"The whole glade was transformed — the surrounding 
trees, the grass, even the bugs. The needles of the cedars 
began shining in a host of soft hues. Behind the squirrels 
springing from branch to branch could be seen rainbow- 
trails sparkling and dissolving. The grass was lit up in a soft 
green glow. An even more pronounced multicoloured glow 
emanated from the multitude of bugs scurrying through the 
grass, forming an unusually vivid and beautiful carpet spread- 
ing its way across the glade, constantly morphing itself into 
new intricate and marvellous patterns. Upon awakening, 
Anastasia opened her eyes to behold an extraordinary living 



The anomaly 179 

panorama, full of enchantment. She jumped up and gazed 
all 'round. 

"She smiled, as she always did in the morning, and every- 
thing around her responded to her smile with an even brighter 
glow and accelerated movement. Then Anastasia carefully 
knelt down and began meticulously examining the grass and 
the shining, multicoloured bugs scurrying about. When she 
lifted up her head, the slightly worried expression on her face 
betrayed a measure of concentration. She looked up and, even 
though nothing was visible up there, stretched her little arms 
to the sky All at once the still air stirred, and in her hands ap- 
peared the bluish sphere. She held it up to her face, then put 
it down on the grass and tenderly stroked it. And we could 
hear their conversation. Anastasia was the only one who actu- 
ally spoke, but we had the distinct impression that the sphere 
was understanding her and even silently responding. Anasta- 
sia spoke with it tenderly, with just a touch of sadness: 

'"You are good. You are very good. You wanted to delight 
me with your beauty. Thank you. But change it back, please 
change it back to the way it was before. And do not ever 
change it again.' 

"The blue sphere emitted another pulse, then lifted slight- 
ly off the ground, and the lightning discharges flashed from 
within. But the glowing scene did not fade. Anastasia fixed 
her gaze upon it and spoke to it once again: 

'"Every little beetle, bug and ant has its Mama. Everyone 
has a Mama. All Mamas love their children just the way they 
were born. It does not matter how many legs they have or 
what colour they are. You have changed everything. How 
will the Mamas recognise their children now? Please, make 
everything as it was before!' 

"The sphere gave a faint flash, and everything in the glade 
was restored to the way it looked before. Once again it de- 
scended to Anastasia's feet. She stroked it and offered a 



180 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

'Thank you!'. She stared silently at the sphere for a while, and 
when she spoke to it again, her words really impressed us. She 
told it: 

"'Do not come to see me again. I like being with you. You 
are always trying to do only what is good for everyone, always 
trying to help. But do not come visit me. I know you have a 
very large glade of your own. But you think very fast, so fast 
that I cannot understand all at once. Only later shall I un- 
derstand a bit. You move faster than everything else. Much 
faster than the birds and the breeze. You do everything very 
fast and very well, and I know that is how you must do it to 
get everything done, to do good in your own very large glade. 
But when you are with me, it means you are not there. So, 
when you are with me, there is no one to do good in the other 
glade. Go away You need to take care of the large glade.' 

"The blue sphere contracted into a little lump, and took 
off way up high. It began sweeping through Space, sparkling 
more brightly than usual, and once more plunged down like 
a fiery comet to Anastasia, who was still sitting in the same 
spot. It stayed still by her head for a while, then a multitude 
of tiny flickering rays reached out to Anastasia's long hair and 
stroked each strand individually, right down to the tip. 

'"What are you taking your time for?' Anastasia said qui- 
etly. 'You should get going back to those who are waiting for 
you. I'll make everything all right here myself. And I will be 
happy to know that everything is all right in the large glade 
too. I shall be able to feel you. And I want you to think of me 
too, but just occasionally' 

"The blue sphere began ascending, but not with its usual 
carefree bounce. It rose from Anastasia in fitful bursts, and 
finally disappeared into space. But it left something invisible 
all around. And each time when something happened that af- 
fected Anastasia negatively, the surrounding space would grow 
still, as though paralysed. That is why you lost consciousness 



The anomaly 



181 



when you tried to touch her without her consent. She paci- 
fies this phenomenon by waving her hands in the air when- 
ever she can. Just as before, she wants to do everything all by 
herself. 

"We asked our little Anastasia: 

'"What was that glowing thing that was hovering over the 
glade, what do you call it?' 

"She thought for a bit, and answered briefly: 

"'I would call it Good, Granpakins.'" 

The oldster fell silent. But I still wanted to hear about how 
little Anastasia lived in the forest, and I asked him: 

"What did she do after that, how did she live?" 

"The same way," the old fellow replied. "She grew up just 
like anyone else. We suggested she help the dachniks. By 
the time she was six she was already able to see people at a 
distance, to discern their feelings and help them. She got 
involved with the dachniks. Now she believes that the phe- 
nomenon of the dachniks offers an easy transition to making 
sense of what constitutes our earthly existence. Here she's 
been continually shining that ray of hers for twenty years now 
She's given warmth to plants on the small plots of land. She's 
treated people's illnesses. She's tried to explain to people, 
without imposing on them, how one should handle plants, 
and she's had terrific results. Then she started observing oth- 
er aspects of human life. And destiny brought her together 
with you. And now she's come out with the idea of carrying 
people through the dark forces' window of time"'' 

'And what do you think, she'll be successful?" I asked. 

"Vladimir, Anastasia knows the power of thought inherent 
in Man as a Creator. Otherwise she would never have let her- 
self make such a statement. From now on she will not deviate 
from this path — she'll stick to it. She's a stubborn lass. It 
comes from her father." 



182 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"So, she's taking concrete steps," I observed. "She's trying 
to make her thought-forms into reality, and here we are just 
sitting and rationalising about the spiritual. Like kids wip- 
ing their noses... You know, there's quite a few people that 
still ask me: 'Does Anastasia really exist, or did I just dream 
everything up myself?'" 

"That's not a question people can actually ask. People 
touched by the book will feel her right away. She is in the 
book. Questions like that can only be asked by illusory peo- 
ple, not real people." 



Chapter Twenty-Eight 



"But I'm talking about very real people — like those two girls 
over there, for instance. D'you see?" I pointed in the direc- 
tion of two teen-age girls standing about five or six metres 
away from our bench. 

The old man fixed his gaze upon them and said: 
"I think one of them — the one that's smoking — is unreal." 
"What d'you mean, unreal? If I went up to her and gave her 
behind a good slap, you'd hear a scream and curses that'd be 
more than real!" 

"You know, Vladimir, what you are now seeing is simply an 
image before your eyes. An image created by the dogmas of 
the technocratic world. Look closely The girl has on very 
uncomfortable high-heeled shoes. Besides, they're a little too 
tight for her. She wears them precisely because someone else 
is dictating what shoes women should be wearing these days. 
'And she's wearing a short skirt of material made to look 
like leather but it isn't leather. It's harmful for the body, but 
she's wearing it according to the dictates of society's current 
fad. Look at all her gaudy make-up and how arrogantly she's 
behaving. Outwardly she's independent. But only outwardly 
Her whole appearance is at odds with herself, her real self. 
She's been 'smitten' by an image of someone else's thought- 
forms, a soulless, illusory image has eclipsed her living soul 
and taken it captive." 

"You can say what you like about the soul, captivity and the 
dictates of some image or other," I interjected. "But how can 
one tell whether that's actually true or not?" 



184 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"I'm already an old man, you see. I can't get in tune with 
the slower pace of your thinking. I can't express myself con- 
vincingly, the way Anastasia does." The oldster sighed and 
added: "Do you mind if I try showing you?" 

"Showing me what?" 

"I shall now attempt to destroy, at least for a time, that illu- 
sory, lifeless image and free the girl's soul. You watch closely." 

"Go ahead." 

The girl holding the cigarette was in the midst of arrogantly 
berating her companion. The old fellow watched them close- 
ly and intently. And when the girl turned her glance away and 
fixed it on some of the passers-by, the oldster's eyes followed 
her gaze. Then he got up and, gesturing to me to follow him, 
headed toward the girls. I went after him. He stopped about 
a half metre from them and fixed his eyes on the girl with the 
cigarette. She turned her head to look at him, blew a puff of 
cigarette smoke in his face and said with some irritation: 

"Hey, what's with you, Gramps? Begging for money, eh?" 

The oldster paused, probably to recover from the cloud of 
smoke enveloping his face, and said in a soft and tender tone: 

"Put the cigarette, dear girl, into your right hand. You 
should try holding it in your right hand." 

And the girl obediently put the cigarette into her right 
hand. But there was much more to it than that. Her face 
suddenly became completely altered. Her arrogance had van- 
ished. In fact everything about her was different: her face, 
the way she stood. And in a completely different tone of 
voice she said: 

"I'll try, Grandfather." 

"You should have your child, dear girl." 

"It'll be hard for me. I'm all alone." 

"Let him come to you. You go and think about that hand 
of yours, think about your child, and he will come. Go along 
now, dear girl, you must hurry" 



Illusory people 185 

"I'll go." The girl took a few steps, then stopped and called 
back to her companion in a calm, quiet voice, with no sign of 
her former irritation: "Come along, Tanya... come with me." 

They left. 

"Wow! Can you tame any woman like that?" I said, when 
we had regained our seat on the bench again. "That's terrific! 
Some sort of super-hypnosis, eh? Far out!" 

"It's not hypnosis, Vladimir. And there's no far-out mysti- 
cism here. It's simply an attentive attitude to one's fellow- 
Man. And I mean to the Man, not to the dreamt-up image 
which obscures the real Man. And Man responds instantly to 
this, he finds his strength, when you appeal directly to him, 
ignoring the illusory image." 

"But how did you manage to see the invisible Man behind 
the visible image?" 

"It's all very simple, really I watched them a bit. The girl 
was holding her cigarette in her left hand. She was also rum- 
maging about in her purse with her left hand. Which means 
she's left-handed. And if a small child holds a spoon or does 
something else with the left hand, his parents try to get him 
to use his right. She got along fine with her parents. I realised 
this when I saw the way she looked at the man and woman 
walking along with a little girl in tow. I spoke to her the way 
her parents might have when she was little. I tried to use the 
same tone of voice her parents might have used. Back when 
she was little, unaffected, not under someone else's image. 
That little girl was the real Man, and it responded right off." 

"But you were talking to her about childbirth — what was 
that all about?" 

"She's pregnant, you see. She's been pregnant more than a 
month now. That alien image doesn't want the child. But the 
girl's inner being wants the child very much. They're strug- 
gling with each other. Now her inner being will win out! 



Chapter Twenty-Nine 



'Anastasia told me, when I talked with her in the taiga," I recalled, 
"that nobody can see God because His thoughts work with great 
speed and concentration. But I'm thinking, why doesn't He slow 
them down so people can get a good look at Him?" 

The old man raised his walking-stick and pointed it at a 
passing cyclist. 

"Look there, Vladimir. Look how the bicycle wheels turn. 
The wheel has spokes, but you can't see them. They are there, 
and you know it, but the speed of rotation does not allow you 
to see them. Or put it another way: the pace of your thinking 
and your visual perception does not allow you to see them. If 
the cyclist goes slower, you will see the spokes of the wheel, 
albeit blurred. If he stops altogether, you will see them clearly, 
but the cyclist himself will fall off. He won't get to his desti- 
nation because of his stopping, and for what? Just to let you 
see that the spokes are there? But where does that take you? 
Has anything changed in you? Or around you? 

"The only thing you'll know for certain is: the spokes exist. 
And that's it. The cyclist, of course, can always get up and 
continue his journey, but others may want to see, which means 
he'll have to stop and fall again and again. And for what?" 

"Well, so I can get a good look at him just once." 

'And what will you see? After all, a cyclist lying on the 
ground isn't a cyclist any more. "You will have to imagine what 
he looked like. 

"Just so, a God who changes the pace of His thinking is 
no longer God. Wouldn't it be better for you to learn how 



Why nobody can see God 187 

to accelerate your own thinking? Imagine yourself talking 
with someone who has a slow time getting what you're say- 
ing — doesn't that irritate you? Isn't it a pain slowing down 
your own pace of thought to his level?" 

"Ifcu're right, if you adapt yourself to a fool's pace, you 
might become a fool yourself." 

"So in order for us to see God, He would have to slow down 
His own thinking to our pace, and become as one of us. But 
when He does this, sending us His sons, the crowd looks at 
them and says: 'You aren't God, you're not even the son of 
God, just a pretender. Perform a miracle or we'll nail you to 
a cross.'" 

"But why shouldn't God's son perform a miracle?" I ques- 
tioned. 'At least so the non-believers would back off, and not 
crucify him." 

"Miracles do not convince non-believers, they only tempt 
them," came the reply. 'And those who perform miracles are 
burnt at the stake under cries of 'Burn the manifestation of 
the dark forces!' Besides, just look around you. God's mira- 
cles abound in countless numbers. The Sun rises every day, 
and then there's the Moon at night. An insect on a blade of 
grass is a miracle, after all, not to mention a tree... 

"Here we are, the two of us, sitting under a tree. Who 
could think up a more perfect mechanism than a tree like 
this? These are particles of His thought. All the material- 
ised, living forms scurrying beneath our feet, flying above 
our heads in the ethereal blue, singing for us, caressing our 
bodies with a ray of warmth — these are all His, they are all 
around us, made for us. But are there that many people who 
are able not only to see, but to feel and realise the significance 
of all this? Maybe not even to improve, but simply to use and 
keep from distorting or destroying these living marvels of 
creation? As for His sons, they have one purpose — to raise 
people's conscious awareness by their words, slowing down 



188 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

their own thinking, even at the risk of being misunderstood 
themselves." 

"But Anastasia emphasised that just speaking words was 
not enough to raise Man's conscious awareness to a meaning- 
ful level. I too think that mankind has uttered an enormous 
number of different words, but what do they mean? The 
Earth all around is full of unhappy lives, and it may even suf- 
fer a global disaster." 

"Quite right. When the words do not come from the heart, 
when the threads linking them to the soul are torn apart, then 
the words are empty, imageless, faceless. Our granddaugh- 
ter Nastenka 1 is capable of creating images not just in every 
word, but in the sound of every letter of the alphabet. Now 
the Earth-dwelling teachers, His sons that are in the flesh to- 
day, will attain such a degree of power that the human spirit 
will outshine the darkness." 

"Sons, teachers? What have they got to do with it? Aren't 
the abilities hers alone?" 

"She will share them, in fact she is already sharing them. 
Look here, you've even been able to write a book, readers 
have flooded the world with poems, and new songs have been 
sung. Have you heard the new songs?" 

"Yes, I have." 

"So this will be multiplied many times with your religious 
teachers, just as soon as they come into contact with the book. 
And where you see simply words, they will feel the living im- 
ages, and the power will be magnified multifold in them." 

"They will feel it, but what about me? What am I, com- 
pletely devoid of feeling? If so, why did she talk with me and 
not with them?" 

"Because you are incapable of distorting what you hear, 
and there is nothing you have of your own already that you 

Nastenka (pronounced NAH-sten-ka) — a diminutive form of Anastasia. 



Why nobody can see God 189 

can mix with it. On a clean sheet of paper the word is set 
forth more clearly. But not to worry, your thought will accel- 
erate too." 

"Okay, let it accelerate in me too, so I don't lag behind the 
others. I guess everything you say must be right. Here in 
Russia there's the leader of one religious community — the 
community settlers refer to him as their teacher — who told 
his followers to read the book about Anastasia. 'It will set 
your hearts on fire,' he told them. And many of his followers 
went out and bought the book." 

"So, that means he understood, he felt something, and that 
is why he helped Anastasia and you. And did you ever thank 
him for his help?" 

'I've never met him." 
'You can say 'thank you' in your heart." 
'Silently you mean? Who's going to hear that?" 
'The one who listens with his heart will hear it." 
'There's another element here. He said the book was re- 
ally good, Anastasia too, but he went on to say that /wasn't a 
real man, that I wasn't a true male of the species. Anastasia 
didn't meet with a real man,' he said. I saw this myself on TV, 
and then read it in the papers." 

'And what would you say you were — Mr Perfection?" 
"Well, 'perfection', I admit, is stretching it." 
"Then you need not be offended. You can work toward be- 
ing perfect. My granddaughter will help you. Those whom 
Love is capable of uplifting can rise to the heights. It's not even 
meant for everyone to grasp the whys and the wherefores. An 
extraordinary speed of thinking is required for that." 

"What about your thought? What speed does it operate at? 
You don't find it tiresome talking with me?" 

"The thinking speed of anyone who leads a lifestyle such 
as ours is always significantly greater than that of people in 
the technocratic world. Our thought is not encumbered by 



190 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

constant concerns about clothing, food and a lot of other 
things like that. But I don't find it tiresome talking with you, 
thanks to my Love for my granddaughter. She wanted me to 
talk with you. And I am glad to do something for her." 

'And what is the pace of Anastasia's thinking? The same as 
yours and your father's?" 

'Anastasia's is greater." 

"By how much? By what ratio? What she can process in 
ten minutes, let's say, how long would that take you?" 

"To make sense of what she can process in ^second, we would 
require several months. That is why she sometimes seems to 
us illogical. That is why she is utterly alone. That is why we 
can't be of any significant help to her — why we can't grasp 
right off the logic behind her actions. My father has com- 
pletely given up conversation altogether. He keeps trying to 
match her pace of thinking so he can help her. He wants me 
to do the same. But I don't even try My father thinks that's 
because I'm lazy But I love my granddaughter very much and 
simply trust that she is doing everything correctly And if she 
asks me to do something, I'm delighted to do it. That's why I 
came to see you." 

"But how then did Anastasia manage to talk with me for 
three whole days?" 

"We wondered how, too — for a long time. After all, con- 
stantly making that kind of an adjustment could drive one 
crazy It was just recently that we discovered the answer. You 
see, when she was talking with you, she did not slow her think- 
ing down. On the contrary, she made it work even faster. She 
accelerated it and transformed it into images. Now, like your 
computer programmes, these images will play themselves out 
for you and for anyone who reads the book. They will expand 
and accelerate the pace of human thinking by leaps and bounds, 
bringing it closer to God. When we realised that, we conclud- 
ed that in thinking up such a thing, she had created a new law 



Why nobody can see God 191 

in the Universe. But now it's clear that she was simply using 
the opportunity afforded by pure and sincere Love, which we 
hadn't known about before. Love, after all, has remained one 
of the Creator's grand mysteries. And look how she has now 
opened up one of its great opportunities and powers." 

'And does the pace of her thinking allow her to see God?" 

"Hardly After all, she lives in the flesh too. God is in the 
flesh as well, but only partly And His flesh is all the people of 
the Earth. As one small particle of this flesh, Anastasia occa- 
sionally grasps something. It is possible that when her thinking 
reaches such incredible speeds, she feels Him more than others 
do, but this happens with her only for short periods of time." 

'And what does it give her?" 

"In a matter of a second she is able to comprehend the truths, 
the essence of being, the conscious awareness that the wisest 
people of your world have spent a lifetime perfecting and shar- 
ing with each other." 

'And that means she has the knowledge of our Oriental la- 
mas, the wisdom of Buddha and Christ, and knows yoga too?" 

"That she does. She knows more than is said in all the trea- 
tises passed down to your world today. But she still considers 
them to be insufficient, since there is no universal harmony 
among those living on the Earth today, and the march toward 
global disaster continues. 

"This is why she is working out her incredible 'combina- 
tions'. She is saying: 'Enough of teaching people dogmas, 
enough of tempting them with Adam and Eve's apple. They 
must be enabled to feel — really feel — what Man once felt, 
what he was capable of and who he was.'" 

"So," I said, "what you're trying to tell me is that she has a 
real possibility of doing something good for all mankind? If 
that's so, then when will it begin — this 'good'?" 

"It has already begun. Just little sprouts so far, but that it is 
only for the time being." 



192 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Where are they? How do I see them? Or feel them?" 

'Ask the people who read the book — the 'sprouts' are in 
them. Indeed, the book is awakening bright feelings in many 
people. That's something that can no longer be denied — 
many will attest to it. She's succeeded with those combina- 
tions of hers. Incredible, but she's done it. 

'And you, Vladimir, think about who you were and who 
you've become. What has been happening, Vladimir, is that a 
programme of thought-images has been unfolding in you, and 
her soul has been unfolding in people's consciousness. The 
world is starting to change in you, and by doing so is chang- 
ing the thought-images all around you. We cannot fathom 
completely how she manages to do that. What is evidently 
real on the surface is something we can still manage to deci- 
pher. What helps her to bring about this new reality remains 
a mystery. 

"Naturally one can make vigorous efforts to delve into it, 
but we should be wary of taking away from the marvellous 
reality that is unfolding before our eyes. A breathtaking dawn 
of a new day is something to be admired. Once you begin 
analysing the whys and wherefores, instead of elation all you 
get is excavation, which doesn't lead to anything and doesn't 
change anything." 

"Golly, I didn't realise it was so far out, so complex! I was 
still hoping that Anastasia was just a simple recluse, only ex- 
traordinarily kind, beautiful and a little naive." 

"You see what I mean, you mustn't go digging around and 
knocking your brains out. If it's all too complex, then let her 
remain for you a kind and beautiful recluse, since that's the 
image you have of her. Others will see something different. 
You've been given what you've been given. That's all your 
consciousness has room for at the moment, and that is per- 
fectly well and good. Just try to admire the dawn, if you can. 
That's the most important thing of all." 



Chapter Thirty 



IW11 111 JK.OSS1 



"The dawn will begin in Russia," I observed, "when everyone 
will be better off financially. When the economy as a whole 
improves, and individuals see a rise in their incomes." 

'All the material things you see around you depend on 
Man's spirit and conscious awareness," Anastasia's grandfa- 
ther responded. 

"Okay, maybe. But what's the point in erudite philoso- 
phies, if people can't afford to feed or clothe themselves?" 

"They need to think about why that has been happening. 
Each one needs to figure it out for themselves. And stop try- 
ing to find a scapegoat. Only by changing themselves within will 
they change anything around them, including their financial 
situation. I agree with you that people will not be able to ac- 
cept this all at once. But Anastasia said, after all: 'You have to 
do without moral preaching. You have to show people how, 
that's all.' And she showed how. 

"Now it's up to you to carry out what she outlined. Then, 
within the space of three years, many communities through- 
out Siberia — large, small, forgotten and neglected, where 
there are only old people still living whose children don't even 
come for a visit, will become richer, many times richer. Their 
life will bloom abundantly, and many children will return. 

'And she will have much more than that to offer. She will 
reveal many secrets, she will restore people's abilities and the 
knowledge inherent in our pristine origins. Russia will be 
a most wealthy land. And she will do this to prove that the 
spirituality and knowledge inherent in our pristine origins are 



194 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

more significant than the futile efforts of technocracy. Russia 
will herald a new dawn over the whole Earth." 

'And what do / have to do to bring it about?" 

"You can start by revealing the first secret related to you by 
Anastasia. You should write in your book how to produce heal- 
ing oil from the cedar nut. And don't hold anything back." 

I suddenly felt everything boiling up inside me. The wind 
was literally knocked out of me. I couldn't sit, and jumped to 
my feet. 

"Why? Tell me why! Why should I suddenly turn around 
and do that? For everybody For free. Any sane person would 
think I was an idiot... 

"I set up an expedition, and I put into it everything I had. 
Now my firm's been ruined. Anastasia asked me to write a 
book, and I wrote it. And now we're even. Your aspirations, 
your philosophy — that's not something I can readily com- 
prehend. All I did was put it down on paper, as I promised 
Anastasia I would... 

"But the oil — well, that's something that's completely 
clear to me. I know now how much I can get for it. And 
I'll never share the technology with anybody. Til scrape to- 
gether a little money from selling the books and then I'll start 
producing it myself. I've got to put everything back together 
again. I've got to get my ship back, the company too. I need 
to buy a laptop so I can keyboard the next book... 

"I don't have a home any more. No place to live. I want 
to buy a trailer home. And when I'm rich, I want to erect a 
monument to Russian officers — the ones physically alive but 
with mortally wounded hearts. Our indifference keeps tear- 
ing their hearts apart, and their honour and conscience have 
been spat on by people — the same people officers in all ages 
have gone into battle to defend... 

"While you people sit nice and quiet there in the forest, 
here people are perishing. The country all around is full of 



Dawn in Russia 195 

various 'preachers'. They all just talk about spiritual matters, 
but don't really feel like doing anything. At least I'm going 
to do something. But here you're telling me I should give 
valuable know-how away just like that! To everyone! Not on 
your life!" 

'Anastasia did determine a percentage for you too," Grand- 
father interjected. "I know — three percent from the sale of 
the oil." 

"Sure, what's a miserable three percent to me, when I can 
get three hundred for the oil?! I know what the world prices 
are now. And as for its healing properties, what they're sell- 
ing out there is considerably less effective. I did some check- 
ing. They don't know how to produce it properly Now I'm 
the only one who knows how to do it. Everything she said 
checked out. There's nothing in the world that can compare 
with its healing impact. Besides, scientific studies confirm it. 
Pallas 1 said that it could even restore a person's youth. And 
you want me to go give it away just like that. 

"You must take me for a fool. I've looked through so much 
literature, even sent people into the archives to confirm what 
she said. And they did. A lot of money went to that too." 

" Y)u checked into everything — which means you couldn't 
bring yourself to trust Anastasia right off. That lack of trust 
is what cost you the time and money" 

"Yes, I did do the checking. I had to, you see. But now I'm 
not going to be a sucker any more. You talk about a 'dawn for 
everyone'. Come on now — 'dawn? In that dawn of yours I'd 
still be a sucker. I wrote a book. I did everything just the way 
she asked me to. I remember her telling me: 'Don't hide any- 
thing, either the bad or the good. Humble your pride. Don't 



Pallas — a reference to Peter Simon Pallas (1741-1811), a member of the 
St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences and a prominent pioneer explorer of 
the Siberian taiga. 



196 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

be afraid to look ridiculous, don't be afraid to be misunder- 
stood.' I haven't hid anything. And what's come of it? 

"The book makes me look like a complete idiot. People 
stand there and say that to my face. That I haven't got a spir- 
itual ounce in my body, that there's a lot I still don't under- 
stand. They say I'm coarse and uncivilised. And even a thir- 
teen-year-old girl from Kolomna 2 wrote me to say I've been 
doing things the wrong way And a woman from Perm 3 came 
to see me, right to my doorstep, and said: 'I wanted to see 
what Anastasia saw in him.' 

"'Don't hide anything, either the good or the bad. Humble 
your pride. Don't be afraid to look ridiculous, don't be afraid 
to be misunderstood.' She knew everything, didn't she? She 
comes out pretty good in the book — that's what people say — 
and how do I look? It's all her fault. If it weren't for the child, I 
could easily slap her one for what she did. Just think! I wrote 
everything down in good faith, just as she asked me to. And 
for that people tell me I'm insensitive and a coward to boot. 

"Of course I'm a complete idiot. I've made myself into 
one. I obeyed her. I've written all that about myself, and now 
I'll never live it down the rest of my days. And after I'm gone 
they'll still make fun of me. The book's got a life of its own, 
as it's turned out. It'll outlive me! And even if I stop print- 
ing it, what difference will it make? The underground press is 
already grinding out more copies. They're trying to run it off 
on photocopy machines." 

All at once I stopped short and looked at the old man. A 
little tear could be seen slowly making its way down his cheek. 



~ girl from Kolomna — The reference is to a young girl also named Anasta- 
sia, whose letter to Vladimir Megre is reproduced in Book i, Chapter 30: 
'Author's message to readers". 

'Perm — a major city of over a million inhabitants 1,500 km east of Mos- 
cow. 



Dawn in Russia ic^j 

I sat down beside him. He was still silently looking at the 
ground. Then he spoke. 

"You see, Vladimir, my granddaughter Nastenka is capa- 
ble of foreseeing a lot. It's not that she wanted anything for 
herself. She didn't want fame, didn't want money By taking 
part of the fame upon herself, she put herself in danger, but 
she saved you. And the fact that you come out the way you 
do in the book — well, that's her doing. You're right about 
that. But that was not to humiliate you — that's how she was 
able to save you. By taking upon herself a whole mass of dark 
forces. All by herself. And you respond to her with the pain 
of misunderstanding and irritation. Think — is it easy for a 
woman who creates out of love to hold on like that?" 

"What kind of a love is it," I countered, "when her beloved 
is counted among fools?" 

"Calling somebody a fool doesn't make him one. A fool is 
one who mistakes flattering words for the truth. Think for a 
moment of how you would like to be seen by others. As a fig- 
ure exalted above all? As a brilliant intellect? And you could 
have made yourself a reputation like that with your first book. 
But then... pride and selfishness would have destroyed you. 

"There are not even that many enlightened people who 
could hold out against sins like those. Pride creates an un- 
natural image of Man, it obscures the living soul. That is why 
the philosophers of the past and the geniuses of today can 
create so precious little. Because even after the first stroke of 
their pen they are so overwhelmed by a sense of self-conceit 
they lose right off what was given to them in the beginning. 

"But Nastenka was smart enough to set up a protective 
barrier against flattery and worship which lead to pride. They 
won't touch you now. She is saving you from a multitude of 
ills. And is protecting both your spirit and your flesh. You 
will write nine books straight from your heart. The Earth will 
be radiant with its Space of Love. And then, once you have 



198 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

dotted the final i in the ninth book, you will be able to under- 
stand who you are." 

"Come on! Isn't it possible to tell who I am right now?" 

"Who you are right now — that's pretty obvious. You are 
who you are at the moment. You are who you feel yourself 
to be. Whoever you will become, only Anastasia, possibly, 
knows. And she will wait, living each moment by Love. The 
fact that people sitting in their comfortable apartments call 
you a coward — that's nothing. You should take it with a 
grain of salt. And suggest they try heading off into the taiga 
for three days with no gear. Let them try sleeping with a bear 
in a cave. To get the full sensation, let them take a mentally 
deranged girl along — after all, wasn't that how Anastasia 
seemed to you at first?" 

"More or less." 

"Let any man who accuses you try sleeping with his mental- 
ly deranged companion. Out there in the backwoods, where 
they can hear the wolves howling. Could he really do that? 
What do you think?" the old fellow asked slyly. 

And no sooner had I pictured to myself the scenario he de- 
scribed than I burst out in a hearty laugh. And the two of us 
had a good laugh together. Then I asked him: 

"Can Anastasia hear what we've been saying?" 

"She will learn about all your deeds." 

"Then tell her not to worry I shall explain to everyone how 
to extract healing oil from cedar nuts." 

"Fine, I'll tell her," the old man promised. "But do you re- 
member everything Anastasia told you about the process?" 

"Yes, I think I do." 

"Right, tell it to me." 



Chapter Thirty-One 



How to produce healing cedar oil 



It's not that difficult a task. The modern technology involved 
is already familiar and it needs no setting forth here. But 
there are some rather unusual nuances I should point out. 

When gathering the cones 1 one should not beat against the 
cedars with logs or wooden bats, as the harvesters do today 
This greatly weakens the healing properties of the oil. One 
should use only the cones which the cedar itself gives off. Ei- 
ther they fall with the wind, or you can knock them down with 
the resonance of your voice, as Anastasia does. They should 
be collected by people whose thought is free from evil. And 
it is especially good when the cones are picked up by children's 
hands. In any case, all the steps which follow should be car- 
ried out with kind and bright thoughts. 

"Such people may be found in Siberian villages even now," 
Anastasia affirmed. Whether this really makes a difference is 
difficult to tell. But it also says in the Bible that King Solo- 
mon sought out people "skilled in felling timber". 2 Only it 
doesn't say how these people differed from anyone else in 
other respects. 

The nuts obtained after the shelling of the cones must have 
their oil extracted within a three-month period; after that the 



cones — Note that the term cedar (Russian kedr) is used throughout the 
Ringing Cedars Series to refer to either the Siberian cedar (or Siberian pine, 
Pinus sibirica) — as in this case — or to the Lebanese cedar (cedar of Leba- 
non, Cedrus libani). 

I Kings 5: 6 (New International Vers ion). 



200 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

quality will significantly deteriorate. The kernel should not 
come into contact with any metal during the extraction proc- 
ess. In any case, the oil should never come into contact with 
metal. 

The oil can be used to treat any diseases without diagno- 
sis. It can also be used as a food product and added to salads. 
Or it can be taken one spoonful a day, preferably at sunrise, 
although the afternoon is also a good time. But definitely in 
daylight, not at night. That's the main thing. 

"Only people may be offered a counterfeit," I voiced my 
concern to the old fellow. But he responded slyly and with 
just a touch of humour: 

"Well, then, you and I will make a device to screen out 
counterfeits. And we'll work out those commissions of yours 
at the same time." 

"How do we do that?" 

"Have to think about it. You, after all, are the entrepre- 
neur." 

"I was one, but right now I'm not sure who I am." 

"Let's think together, then. ~Ybu correct me if something's not 
right." 

"Okay," I agreed. 

"The final product should be tested with measuring instru- 
ments by competent technicians. Doctors, scientists — in a 
word, professionals." 

"That's right, they can issue certificates." 

"But instruments can't catch everything. A taste test will 
also be needed." 

"Possibly Tasters determine the quality of wine, for exam- 
ple. There's no substitute for that. But the wine-tasters are 
acutely aware of the taste of different vintages. They have a 
superb sense for both fragrance and taste. But who will be 
tasting the oil?" 

"7bu can check it." 



How to produce healing cedar oil 201 

'And just how am I supposed to do that? I've only tasted 
the usual sort of oil. When we made it ourselves, we didn't 
follow the technological procedures Anastasia recommend- 
ed. Besides, I'm a smoker." 

"For three days before checking the oil quality, you should 
abstain from smoking and alcohol. And don't eat meats or 
fats. And you shouldn't talk with anyone for those three days. 
Then you can check it and determine from the taste whether 
it is good or an imitation." 

'And what do I compare it with?" 

"With this." 

Whereupon the old fellow put his hand into his canvas bag 
and drew out a small hollow stick approximately two fingers 
in width. Another stick protruded from one end, like a cork. 

"This is genuine oil. Once you've tasted it, you won't mis- 
take it for anything else. But first let me rid you of what has 
built up in you from smoking and other quirky habits." 

"How are you going to get rid of it? The way Anastasia 
did?" 

"Yes, more or less. 

"But she said that only one who loves is capable of elimi- 
nating ailments in a loved one with the Ray of Love. And of 
warming his body, so that even his feet start perspiring." 

"With the Ray of Love. Quite correct." 

"But you cannot love me. Not the way she does." 

"But I love my granddaughter. Let's try it." 

"Go ahead." 

The oldster screwed up his eyes and began fixing an un- 
blinking gaze on me. I could feel a sense of warmth flow 
through my body But quite a bit weaker than what I felt from 
Anastasia's gaze. Nothing happened. But he still kept trying. 
To the point where his arms were trembling. I could feel a 
little more warming in my body, but only a little. Still, the 
old fellow didn't give up, and I waited. And all at once my 



202 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

feet broke out into a sweat, after which a feeling of freshness 
permeated my head, along with fragrances. I could feel the 
fragrances in the air. 

'Ah, we've succeeded," he said, wearily leaning against the 
back of the bench. "Now give me your hand." 

He opened the stick cork and from the hollow stick poured 
cedar oil onto the palm of my hand. I licked it off with my 
tongue. The warmth spread across my palate and through my 
mouth. And I suddenly caught a whiff of the cedar. And it 
was, indeed, hard to mistake for anything else. 

"Think you'll remember it now?" asked Anastasia's grand- 
father. 

"I'll remember. What's so hard about that? I ate potatoes 
once at the monastery. I remembered that for ages. Twenty- 
seven years later I still remembered the taste. Only how will 
people know that it has been checked? That it is genuine 
cedar nut oil? Right now it's too expensive on the market. 
For just one gram of the raw oil, diluted with something, they 
charge thirty thousand roubles. 3 I saw it myself. It's pack- 
aged as an import. With prices like that it's all too tempting 
to sell fakes." 

"You're right — money's the master of ceremonies at the 
moment. We'll have to think of something." 

"You see? A dead end." 

'Anastasia said that this money can be turned to a good 
purpose," Grandfather observed. "Let's think of something 
along that line." 

"They've been trying to work out for some time now, for 
example, how to guarantee the quality of vodka against imita- 
tions. But... They've changed the labels and corks, they've 
come up with excise labels, but all to no avail. There were 

3 thirty thousand roubles — approximately US$6 at the then current exchange 
rate. 



How to produce healing cedar oil 203 

imitations on the market before, and there still are. What 
with photocopiers and all, any label can easily be copied." 

"What about money, Vladimir — can it be copied too?" 

"Money — that's more difficult to fake." 

"So let's stick money onto the back side of our bottles, 
like labels, so that these snivelling bits of paper can actually 
do some good for once." 

"What d'you mean, stick money on bottles? What kind of 
nonsense is that?" 

"Give me a banknote, please. Any banknote." 

I gave him a 1000 -rouble note. 

"Well, then, it's quite clear. You take the note and cut it in 
half. Stick one half on the box or something else. The other 
half you hide away in a file. You'll think of a suitable place. 
Or put it in a safety deposit box at your bank. You see, on 
each half of the note there are identical numbers, and so any- 
one wanting to confirm the authenticity of the oil, can simply 
verify the number." 

Well, Gramps, I thought to myself, you've got a good head 
on your shoulders. And out loud I said: 

"There's no better defence against imitations. Way to go!" 

He laughed. Still laughing, he added: 

"So, give me a percentage, too. Come on, cough it up!" 

'A percentage? What kind of a percentage? How much do 
you want?" 

"I want everything to be just right," said the old fellow, 
all at once serious again. Then he added: "Besides the three 
percent, take an additional one percent — in kind, as oil al- 
ready packaged. And offer it for free to whoever you feel you 
should. Let that be a gift to people from you and me." 

"Right, I'll do it. You've really thought of everything to aT. 
Way to go!" 

"To a T? That means Nastenka will be very happy for us. And 
my father still thinks I'm lazy So you think I've done a good job?" 



204 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Of course you have!" And we both had another good 
laugh. And I added: "Tell Anastasia I say you would make an 
excellent entrepreneur." 

"You mean it?" 

"Certainly! You could become one of those 'New Rus- 
sians' 4 — and a great one, too!" 

"I'll tell her. And the fact that you're telling everyone about 
the cedar nut oil, I'll pass that along, too. No regrets?" 

"What is there to regret? It would be a tiresome process, 
anyway I'll dash off the third book, as I promised, and then 
I'll get going with my business again, trade... or something 
else, something normal." 



4 New Russians — the name given to a class of Russian nouveaux riches who 
acquired considerable wealth after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They 
were popularly perceived as intellectually limited individuals, notorious for 
their criminal background, uncultured manners, offensive jargon and os- 
tentatious display of wealth, all of which has given rise to a host of jokes. 



Chapter Thirty-Two 



Title! 

(I don't know what to call it; whoever can, 
come up with a title yourselves) 

I decided to tell Anastasia's grandfather about my new as- 
sistants: 

"A lot of articles are now being written about Anastasia. 
She's being talked about in both academic and religious 
circles. One production team, made up of very religious 
and considerate people, offered me a deal to grant them, 
in return for payment, the exclusive right to interpret 
and comment on Anastasia's sayings in the mass media. I 
agreed." 

'And for what amount, Vladimir, did you agree to sell them 
Anastasia?" 

The tone of his question and what he was getting at left a 
rather bad taste in my mouth. And I answered: 

"What do you mean, 'sell? I told them more about Anas- 
tasia than I wrote in the book. I told religious people so that 
they could offer their exclusive comments as well as their 
explanations of what she said. They want to meet with her. 
They're even ready to finance an expedition. I agreed. What's 
wrong with that?" 

The old fellow didn't respond immediately Since no reply 
was forthcoming, I added: 

"They offered me money for an exclusive right — that's the 
way we do things — people offer services for money. They 
will earn even more from their publications." 

The oldster lowered his head and remained silent for a 
while. Then, as if thinking things over aloud, he said: 



206 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"So, you, in your enterprising way, sold Anastasia and they, 
assuming themselves to be the most religious and competent 
people in the world, decided to buy her." 

"Well, that's a pretty strange way of putting it. So, when it 
comes right down to it, what did I do wrong?" 

"Tell me, Vladimir, didn't it ever enter your head or the 
heads of those 'religious' people to think of asking, finding 
out or realising just who Anastasia herself wished to talk to 
and when — and how? And do people in your world go vis- 
iting without so much as an advance request to the host? I 
don't recall her asking anybody to visit her." 

"If she doesn't want to talk with them, she doesn't have to. 
She didn't sign any deal." 

"But you did! She is ready to share what she knows with 
everyone, but it is her right to determine how she's going 
to do this. And if she's chosen to set it forth in a book and 
with your expression, who has the right to dictate or demand 
another? She made the choice herself, but somebody wants 
to change that, and the reason behind the effort to alter her 
choice is clear. She will not talk with people who put them- 
selves ahead of everyone else. With people whose self-right- 
eousness, she knows, will distort, overturn and adjust to their 
own way of thinking the truths she holds sacred." 

"Why paint such a dark picture ahead of time? These peo- 
ple are interested in many different teachings. They are very 
religious." 

"It is they who have determined that they are the most re- 
ligious of all. Religious self-righteousness is the apex of the 
most deadly of sins — pride." 

I began to be overwhelmed with an inexplicable sense of 
anger at myself. I had not yet received payment for the deal 
and so I was able to break it. And shortly afterward, not see- 
ing anything amiss, I signed another deal with one of the re- 
ligious centres for the exclusive right to my own interviews. 



Title! 207 

Once again I was taken in by their considerate attitude and 
the religious knowledge they displayed. Especially since this 
deal concerned me alone, and I could do with myself what I 
pleased. But once again both they and I fell into a trap, and 
once again it turned out that I had indirectly sold Anastasia, 
and they had bought her. 

And this time it was not Anastasia's grandfather but a Mos- 
cow woman journalist who, after reading the new agreement, 
flustered: 

"Boy, how stupid can you get? You've sold Anastasia real 
cheap. Take a closer look and see what the fine print says. 
You've signed over the right to others — an exclusive right — 
to exploit and use as they see fit, over the most powerful in- 
formation channel there is, everything you said relating to 
Anastasia. You've denied yourself the right even to question 
their opinion, no matter what it is." 

To what degree that's true it's hard to say Maybe I'd better 
cite a few of the points of the agreement here: 

1. Subject of agreement: 

1.1 The AUTHOR gives exclusive rights to all videotaping 
of himself, as well as to the use of any other video materials con- 
nected directly or indirectly with the production of "Anastasia" 
television programmes (hereinafter referred to as "programmes"). 
The abovementioned transfer of rights to the CONTRACTOR 
extends to all countries of the world. 

1.2 The CONTRACTOR undertakes, at his own expense, to 
prepare one copy each of three programmes — of between $0 and 
40 minutes each — on a professional BETACAM recorder. 

1.3 By mutual agreement between AUTHOR and CON- 
TRACTOR, any interaction with video- or film-studios, television 
(including cable TV), as well as the shooting of any video on any 
equipment, as well as the use of video materials on the given subject, 
is to be effected only and exclusively by the CONTRACTOR. 



208 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

While this Agreement is in force the AUTHOR waives the 
right to give video interviews and prepare any audio materials 
using the concepts or terms that are in the programmes, either di- 
rectly or indirectly. 

After analysing all the events connected with the writing, 
publication and distribution of the Anastasia book, I came 
to the conclusion that people who call themselves "strongly 
religious" have a dark side which they themselves fear, and 
thus keep trying to assure others and persuade them of their 
religiosity They are probably afraid that people will discover 
their dark side. 

It's so much simpler with entrepreneurs. Their actions and 
goals are more open, less obscured, and consequently they 
are also more honest both to themselves and to those around 
them, to society It's possible I am mistaken. But you can't 
get away from the facts. 

Three Moscow students keyboarded the text of Anastasia. 
They had no expectations of compensation any time soon. 
They never talked about any religious matters. 

The book was published by the manager of Moscow Print- 
shop Number Eleven, a retired officer by the name of Gennady 
Vladimirovich Grutsia, at his own expense. The print-run 
was small and there wasn't even a thought of breaking even. 
Grutsia, an entrepreneur, never talked of religious matters ei- 
ther. The next run was paid for by the business manager of 
the Moscow Publishers' Clearance House, Yuri Anatolievich 
Nikitin, but then it turned out he wasn't dealing in books at 
the time. He gave me the greater part of the print-run to sell. 
He set no deadline for getting a return on his investment. 
And he, too, never talked about religious matters. 

And then the 'religious' people began putting in their two 
cents' worth. And a print-run of 45,000 was released by an un- 
derground press. When this 'religious' firm was discovered, 



Title! 209 

they started proclaiming their religiosity and desire to pro- 
duce bright things, and even promised to pay author's royal- 
ties. They still keep promising that. And that's not the only 
case. 'Religious' people generally seem to be very neglectful of 
accounts, especially when they're the ones who owe money. 

As to the transfer of exclusive rights, I have decided to 
make it clear on the pages of this book: I shall no longer give 
exclusive rights for the interpretation of Anastasia's sayings 
to anybody And if anybody challenges me on that, let people 
know that I have not given anything voluntarily! 

Why do I say voluntarily? The Moscow journalist who 
helped me break the contract soon became the target of 
anonymous threats. Who made them? What did they want? 
What kind of 'religion' do they profess? They support their 
religion by extortion. Well, I know what the extortion racket 
is all about; after all there are human beings there too. And I 
want to warn them: be extra careful around 'religious' people. 
And before getting into anything, consider calmly and care- 
fully where these 'religious' people are talcing you. 

There's more. In the first book I wrote that I had invited 
Anastasia to come to Moscow herself and appear on our TV, 
but she refused. I couldn't understand why at the time. But 
now it is clear to me what she foresaw. Even after the book 
came out, there have been many interpretations of what she 
said. Many quite different interpretations. Some are inter- 
esting, some are controversial, but among others one could 
clearly trace the desire on the part of certain people to inter- 
pret her in a manner that would serve their own interests. 

Direct challenges were thrown my way, for example: 

"So you think you alone have the right to talk with her?" 

"You don't understand everything, let others speak with 
her, more will come out of it." 

But she is not an object to hand over to someone. She is 
Man! And she herself has the right to decide how she will 



210 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

act, whom she will speak with and what she will say. Now it's 
become clearer than ever that Anastasia is really being sub- 
jected to attack by a visible and invisible throng of dark forces 
in the guise of fanatics and self-seekers. 

Back in the first book I quoted Anastasia as saying: 

"I know what a terrible mass of dark forces will descend 
upon me... but I am not afraid of them. I will succeed in raising 
my son. I will succeed in seeing my plan come true. And peo- 
ple will be carried across the dark forces' window of time." 

In Anastasia's world they instruct their children up to 
eleven years of age. In other words, she has at least another 
ten years she can hold out. 

'And then what?" I asked her grandfather. "Is she bound to 
perish?" 

"It's hard to say," the old fellow answered. "They all died 
quite a bit earlier, compared to her, and more than once she 
has embarked on a journey foretelling physical death, but each 
time, at the last moment, the law has flared up — forgotten it 
maybe, but it is still strong enough to overrule anything else. 
It has illuminated the essence of the truth about earthly ex- 
istence. And it has caused life to remain in her earthly body" 

The old man fell silent and once again, preoccupied in 
thought, began tracing some sort of symbols on the ground 
with his stick. I too began thinking, wondering how on earth 
I got myself involved in a situation like this! But the thing 
was, I couldn't very well walk away from it now. It might have 
been possible earlier, but not now, because of the child. 

Anastasia had given birth to a son. Even though she'd rath- 
er devote herself to caring for the child and raising him, she is 
not going to abandon her dream — to carry people across the 
dark forces' window of time. And she will not. Because she's 
really very stubborn. Someone like her will not walk away. 

And who will help her, naive as she is? If I should renege 
on my promise, she's got nobody left. She'd go to pieces. And 



Title! 211 

that's something that should not happen to a nursing mother. 
She's got to finish her breast-feeding, at the very least. And so 
I asked her grandfather: 

"Is there anything I can do for Anastasia?" 

"Try to figure out, for a start, what she's talking about and 
what she wants. Then aimless wandering will give way to un- 
derstanding, and a wave of warmth will cheer the heart, and 
over the world will be unfurled a new dawn." 

"Can you make it any more specific?" I asked. 

"It's hard for me to formulate it in any more specific way 
The whole important thing is sincerity in all. So start by do- 
ing what is dictated by your heart and soul." 

"She told me about a particular Russian provincial town," I 
remarked. "Said something about it possibly becoming richer 
than Jerusalem or Rome. Because all around there are many 
sacred sites of our forebears. Sites more significant than the 
temples at Jerusalem. Only the local people do not have suf- 
ficient conscious awareness to discern them. I want to go 
there, and change their conscious awareness." 

"That's not something that can be done quickly, Vladimir." 

"Well, you see, I didn't know it couldn't be done, and so I 
promised Anastasia. And there must be some way of bringing 
about a change." 

"Since you didn't know it couldn't be done, you shall change it 
indeed. More power to you! And now it's time for me to go." 

"I'll see you off." 

"Don't waste your time. No need to see me off. Think 
about what you have to do." 

The old fellow got up and offered me his hand. 

I watched Anastasia's grandfather recede into the distance 
along the tree-lined boulevard, and thought of my forthcom- 
ing trip to the city of Gelendzhik, remembering what Anas- 
tasia had told me about it. And it was no mere chance con- 
versation. 



Chapter Thirty-Three 



Your sacred site! 



Ui 



I asked Anastasia: 

"Do your people often come across ringing cedars?" 

"Very, very rarely," she replied. "Perhaps two or three in a 
thousand years. Right now, apart from this one that has been 
saved, there is one more, and it can be sawed up and used for 
its designated purpose." 

"What does that mean: 'used for its designated purpose? 
What is its purpose?" 

"The Great Intelligence of the Universe, God, Who cre- 
ated Man and his environment, no doubt had the foresight to 
give people the opportunity to restore their lost abilities, to 
use the wisdom accumulated in the non-material world. This 
wisdom has existed right from the start, but Man's ability to 
perceive it has been lost through sinfulness. 

"My grandfather and great-grandfather told you about the 
ringing cedar and its extraordinary healing properties. What 
they did not explain was that its pulsations and rhythms are 
close to that Great Intelligence. 

"If they are merged and combined, as it were, with the 
rhythms already present in many people, then a Man who plac- 
es the palm of his hand on the warm trunk of a ringing cedar 
and runs his hand over it as though caressing it, thereby attains 
the possibility of communicating with the infinite expanse of 
wisdom. Such a Man is capable of becoming aware of many 
things in the scope of his thinking at the moment of contact 
or thereafter. This happens in varying degree with each indi- 
vidual. I am telling you about the highest manifestation." 








JL 



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With its hundreds of dolmens, Northern Caucasus (Russia) is a 
region with one of the highest concentrations of preserved mega- 
lithic sites in the world. Over the millennia, many of the dolmens 
were vandalised or destroyed. After Vladimir Megre's The Ringing 
Cedars of Russia raised public awareness of their momentous spir- 
itual importance, millions of people have visited these formerly ne- 
glected and forgotten sites. Photos © 2004 by Alexey Kondaurov, 
Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. 




*sfc 



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Krasnodar- 1 ' 



a 



Novorossiysk 
Gelendzhik 



Pshada 




Beregovoe 
Black Sea 



Tuapse 



i Moscow 



Gelendzhik 



Salekhard 



Novosibirsk 



Sochi 



A map of the 'dolmen country' — Russian Northern Caucasus and 
the Black Sea coast (above) and a view of this region (below). Photo 
© 2006 by Olga Chernyshova, Sarov, Russia. 



V 









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Above: a dolmen complex in the process of restoration, Northern 
Caucasus, Russia. Photo © 2004 by Dmitry Samusev 

Below: a dolmen near the settlement of Pshada, with its front van- 
dalised and covered in modern graffiti. Photo © 2004 by Alexey 
Kondaurov, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. 







i, ... •■'• : ^^^l 2 ^pmM ' .'":Vv-.. 



^^^S^B?^ 



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The cedar of Lebanon planted some ioo years ago by the hand of 
Vladimir Korolenko, near the city of Gelendzhik. For details please 
see Chapter 33: "Your sacred sites, O Russia!". 

Photo © 2006 by Olga Chernyshova, Sarov, Russia. 









■■* ) 










Above: eight women employees oiDruzhba Sanatorium on a trip to a 
dolmen near Pshada in the Caucasus mountains, 26 November 1996 
(see Chapter 33: "Your sacred sites, O Russia!"). The picture was tak- 
en by Vladimir Megre himself as these women were preparing to lay 
flowers in honour of their distant forebear. Below: Vladimir Megre 's 
photo of Father Feodorit's church (see Chepter 24: "Father Feodor- 
it"). Both photos appeared on the inside cover of an early Russian 
print-run of The Ringing Cedars of Russia. © 1996 by Vladimir Megre. 











« 




**wqpr 






The One and Only by a Single Line — this picture in the private col- 
lection of the Trinity-Sergiev Monastery (Sergiev Posad, Russia) is 
a copy of a famous engraving by Claude Mellan (1598-1688), Veil of 
St Veronica (1649), above. The face of Christ Jesus ('the One and 
Only') surmounted by a crown of thorns is executed by a single 
spiral line in 166 revolutions. For details on Vladimir Megre's ex- 
periences connected with this image, please see Chapter 24: "Fa- 
ther Feodorit" and Chapter 25: "The Space of Love" in the present 
volume. 








The Dachnik Day holiday — honouring the millions of gardeners and 
celebrating Man's connectedness to the Earth — is now celebrated 
on 23 July throughout Russia and beyond. Celebrations at the Rod- 
noe eco-village, Vladimir Region, Russia, 2006 (above) and in Licking, 
Missouri, USA, 2005 (below). Photos © Leonid Sharashkin. 










*l> 





Vladimir Megre arriving at the Ringing Cedars of Russia movement 
conference held in the city of Vladimir on 5 June 2004. The con- 
ference brought together over 400 delegates from 150 eco-villages 
from all over Russia and beyond. Photo © 2004 by Alexey Kondau- 
rov, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. 



Tour sacred sites, Russia! 213 

"But why does it happen differently? Does the cedar 
choose to give its power to one person and not to another?" 

"Its operation is identical in each case. Its rhythm and vi- 
bration are always the same. But some people can tune into it 
and feel it all to the full, while others detect just a light touch. 
Many people don't feel anything at all to start with. But con- 
scious awareness will gradually come even to those without 
feeling. At least they have a greater possibility of feeling it." 

"I still don't quite understand what kind of selection takes 
place." 

"Vladimir, please try to 'read my lips': the difference is not 
in the power of the tree, but in the Man. Hmm... all right, 
I have found it — an example: music! You know, when mu- 
sic is playing... Music too, after all, consists of vibration and 
rhythm. But some people listen to it attentively, they begin to 
have feelings from it, sometimes even tears of joy and tender- 
ness. Others listen to the same music but feel nothing, or do 
not care about listening to it at all. 

"The same with the cedar. Only those who are capable 
of feeling and understanding will hear anything much at all. 
And this 'much' is something that will gradually unfold itself 
to them. It comes during the moments when Man feels like 
pondering it. 

"Women can gain the strength and wisdom of their pris- 
tine origins, they can fulfil their designated purpose and make 
both themselves and their chosen men happy, as well as their 
children they give birth to in Love. And here the miracle is 
not in the cedar, but in human aspirations. The cedar sim- 
ply assists them — it is not the major contributor to noble 
deeds." 

"That's incredible! It's like some kind of tempting, beautiful 
legend!" 

"You do not believe me? You think what I am saying is only 
a legend? Why then did you make such an effort to come here 



214 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

and why were you so eager to have me show you the ringing 
cedar?" 

"Well, I don't think it's all a legend. At first I too didn't be- 
lieve what your grandfather and great-grandfather said about 
the cedar. Later, after I returned home from the expedition, 
I read the popular scientific literature and got to know what 
scientists were saying about its healing properties, and I was 
struck by the fact that the scientists and the Bible were on 
the same wavelength. But I never found a hint anywhere of 
the cedar being used to feel a link with the Great Intelligence 
or God, as you describe it." 

"Either you did not pay close enough attention to what the 
scientists or the Bible were saying, or you missed the main 
point — otherwise you would not be doubting my words." 

"Then what could I have missed? There are only two refer- 
ences to cedars in the Bible: when God teaches how to treat 
people with their help, and then how to disinfect one's home." 

"But the Bible also talks about King Solomon as one of the 
wisest rulers that ever lived, one revered by his people. King 
Solomon, you will agree, is an historical personage — he was 
no legend." 

"So?" 

'And the Bible also says that this king built God a temple 
of cedar, and a house for himself beside it also made of ce- 
dar. And in order to get the cedar, he hired more than thirty 
thousand workers to bring it from another country. And to 
get the cedars cut down, Solomon asked another king named 
Hiram to give him people "skilled in felling timber". 1 Getting 
this cedar cost Solomon twenty cities of his kingdom. Think: 
why did the wisest of all rulers need to go to such expense 
and build his temple and house out of material which was less 
sturdy than what he had on hand already?" 

I Kings 5: 6 (New Internationa/ Vers/017). 



Tour sacred sites, Russia! 215 

"Why?" 

"You can find the answer to that, too, in the Bible, where 
it says: And it came to pass, when the priests were come out 
of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 
So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the 
cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the 
Lord.' 2 You can find indirect proofs of this in the works of 
your prominent scientists." 

"That's great. Something, I think, I can believe in. It 
means the cedar will reveal many secrets to people. Show me 
the ringing cedar that can be sawed up. I'll bring it to a city 
with easy access for people from all over the world wishing to 
touch it." 

"Where will you find a city on the Earth where the inhabit- 
ants will not simply desecrate this sacred cedar, but actually 
ensure its protection and provide a suitable exhibition space 
and access for visitors?" 

"I'll try to find one. Tell me, why have you concluded that 
it's going to be such a difficult task?" 

"People's consciousness today is too bound up with the 
programmes of the technocratic world. They are becoming 
biological robots." 

"What kind of biological robots?" 

"The technocratic world is structured in such a way that 
Man keeps on inventing all sorts of mechanical devices and 
social orders supposedly to make his life easier. But in fact, 
any saving of labour is an illusion. 

"Man himself is becoming a robot of the technocratic 
world. He never has enough time to contemplate the essence 
of being or listen to what another is saying, and no time, either, 
to reflect on his own destiny He is literally a programmed 
robot. Here you are seeing everything with your own eyes, 

I Kings 8: 10, 11 {Authorised King James Version). 



216 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

and hearing it with your own ears, and you still find it hard to 
believe." 

"Anastasia, with me it's a different story. I cannot call my- 
self a strong believer. I believe... in general. But probably not 
the same way other people do. In our world right now there 
are a lot of people who truly do believe. Many read the Bible. 
They will grasp it immediately they see how much the Bible 
talks about the cedar. They will believe and take good care of 
your little piece of cedar." 

"There are different kinds of belief, Vladimir. It often hap- 
pens that a Man will hold in his hands the Koran, or the Bible, 
or another book containing the wisdom of the ages, and say 
that he believes, and even try to teach others, whereas in fact 
he is simply attempting, as it were, to make a deal with God: 
'Look here, I believe in You. Remember that in case anything 
happens.'" 

"What then is belief, or faith?" I enquired. "How should it 
be expressed?" 

"In one's way of life, in one's perception of the world, in 
the understanding of one's essence and designated purpose, 
in one's corresponding behaviour and relationship to the en- 
vironment, in one's thinking." 

"So, just believing is not enough?" 

"Just believing is not enough. Imagine an army All the sol- 
diers, down to the last one, believe in their commander. But 
they do not go into battle. They have such strong faith in 
him that they trust he will win in any case. So the soldiers sit 
back and watch as their commander goes up alone against the 
enemy forces. They sit there in a state of frenzy and call out: 
'Go, go, go! We believe in you, we know you can do it!'" 

"That's no help, Anastasia. You didn't make a real analogy 
Those kinds of absurdities simply don't happen." 

"Those kinds of absurdities do happen in real life, 
Vladimir." 



Tour sacred sites, Russia! 217 

"Then give me an example from the concrete realities of 
our life, and not something made up." 

"Fine. There is a city in Russia called Gelendzhik. It has 
a noble purpose — to be a place where people can go to relax 
from their daily grind, a place to meditate and touch sacred 
sites. 

"There are many sacred sites in and around this city, which 
are more significant than those found in Jerusalem, more sig- 
nificant than the pyramids of Egypt. 

"This city could be one of the richest cities in the world. 
Richer than Jerusalem or Rome. But the city is dying. It is 
a resort town. All its houses and hotels are becoming empty 
and decaying. The materialistic consciousness of the local au- 
thorities prevents them from seeing the treasures which are 
capable of making the city flourish. When they talk about the 
city, they emphasise the sea, the artificial treatment facilities 
available, and the fact that the local hotel rooms are equipped 
with bedside tables and fridges. They do not even mention 
the sacred sites. They know little about them themselves, 
and do not want to know. Their priorities lie elsewhere. 

"There are many people living in this city who call them- 
selves believers. People of many different denominations. 
Some of them actively engage in proselytising. What faith do 
they proselytise? With their attitude to their surroundings 
they have been and still are violating the very commandments 
contained in their sacred books. In the Bible, for instance, 
where it says: 'Love thy neighbour as thyself.' 3 

"But you have to know your neighbour before you can love 
him. You cannot love whom you do not know. But they, the 
ones who call themselves believers, do not know their neigh- 
bours, or even their forebears who lived in that sacred land 



Matth. 22: 39 {Authorised King James Version). 



218 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

and left them the inexhaustible treasure of the sacred sites as 
their legacy. Our ancestors have carried with them over the 
millennia waves of wisdom and the light of their own soul. 
Many people call themselves believers yet do not notice what 
is sacred around them. The sacred sites which have been left 
them by their ancestors to help them." 

"What kind of sacred sites could possibly be found in a 
city like that?" 

"You see, Vladimir, near the city of Gelendzhik can be 
found growing the Lebanese cedar mentioned so many times 
in the Bible. And this living, direct creation of God, talked 
about so much even before Christ Jesus' coming to Earth, is 
located right next to this city. It is only a hundred years old. 
It is still but a stripling, though already very beautiful and 
sturdy 

"It has grown there because it was planted by a worthy 
Man. He was a writer named Korolenko. 4 Thanks to his 
erstwhile popularity, the cedar has been protected with a sur- 
rounding hedge. But today the house where he lived is in a 
state of decay and people are not paying attention to the tree 
he planted." 

'And what about the believers?" 

"Many of the people in the city who call themselves believ- 
ers pay no attention either to the tree or the other great sa- 
cred sites of their forebears. They are destroying them. And 
the city is dying." 

"That means God's punishing them in some kind of venge- 
ance, eh?" 



A Vladimir Galaktionovich Korolenko (1853-1921) — a Russian writer known 
for his short stories and his autobiographical narrative "The story of my 
contemporary". His writings, permeated with ideals of democracy and hu- 
manitarianism, were critical of both the tsarist and communist regimes. 



Tour sacred sites, Russia! 219 

"God is good. He is never vengeful. But what can He do 
when His creations are ignored?" 

"That's amazing! Can such a tree really exist? I must look 
into that." 

"It exists. And there are many other sacred sites around 
the city. But people treat them from a technocratic point of 
view, like the pyramids of the wise pharaohs." 

"What? How do you know about the existence of the 
Egyptian pyramids?" 

"Thanks to generations of my forebears the ability has 
been preserved within me to communicate with the dimen- 
sion where thoughts and wisdom reside. This communica- 
tion gives one the opportunity to learn anything one might 
wish to know, anything that captures one's interest." 

"Hold on a moment. Let me test you. Answer me, do you 
know the secrets of the Egyptian pyramids?" 

"I do. Just as I know that those who investigated those pyr- 
amids were constantly working from a material standpoint. 
They were basically interested in how they were constructed, 
the dimensions and relations of the sides to each other, what 
treasures were hidden inside, what things were to be found 
there. They considered people living at the time the pyramids 
were built to be superstitious. They regarded the pyramids 
only as a means of preserving the pharaohs' valuables, their 
bodies, their glory Thus they distanced themselves from what 
was fundamental, from what was consciously designed." 

"I don't understand you, Anastasia. What conscious de- 
sign where they distancing themselves from?" 

Anastasia didn't speak for some time, staring, it seemed, 
somewhere off into infinity And then she began telling her 
remarkable story: 

"You see, Vladimir, way back in ancient times people living 
on the Earth had the capacity to use wisdom and intelligence 
far surpassing the abilities of modern Man. People at the time 



220 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

of the Earth's pristine origins enjoyed ready access to all the 
information in the entire database of the Universe. This in- 
formation filling the Universe was created by the Great Intel- 
ligence, God. With contributions both from Him and from 
people themselves — their thoughts. It is so superb that it 
is capable of answering any question, unobtrusively. The an- 
swer would appear instantaneously in the subconscious of the 
Man asking the question." 

'And what did it give these people?" 

"These people needed no spaceships for travelling to other 
planets. All they had to do was wish for it, and they could see 
what was happening there. 

"These people needed no television, telephone or commu- 
nication wires ensnaring the Earth — not even literacy, since 
all the information you derive from books they were able to 
obtain instantaneously by other means. 

"These people needed no industries producing medicines 
or drugs, they could get all the best remedies possible simply 
by a gentle wave of the hand, since whatever they needed is 
available in Nature. 

"These people needed none of your modern transporta- 
tion devices. They did not need cars or food-processing com- 
plexes, for everything was supplied to them. 

"They knew that a change in climatic conditions in one 
part of the Earth was a signal to them to move to another 
part, so that the part they were leaving might refresh itself. 
They had an understanding of the Universe along with their 
own planet. They were thinkers and knew their designated 
purpose. They worked to bring the planet Earth to perfec- 
tion. They had no equals in the Universe. In terms of intel- 
ligence they were second only to the Great Intelligence of the 
Universe, or God. 

'Approximately ten thousand years ago, in the human civi- 
lisation that then populated what is now Europe, Asia, the 



Tour sacred sites, O Russia! 221 

northern part of Africa and the Caucasus, individuals arose in 
whom the link with the Intelligence of the Universe was par- 
tially or wholly deadened. This point marks the beginning of 
mankind's movement toward a disaster of global proportions. 
The exact nature of the disaster is immaterial — ecological, 
nuclear or bacteriological, either as forecast by scientists or 
foretold allegorically by ancient religions." 

"Hold on, there, Anastasia! I don't at all see how the ap- 
pearance of such 'invalids' can be related to a global disaster." 

"Your choice of that modern term invalids is very apt. Yes, 
they were invalids, handicapped people. Now when someone 
is deprived of sight, what do they need?" 

"Someone to guide them." 

'And someone deprived of hearing?" 

'A hearing apparatus." 

'And someone with no arms or legs?" 

"Prostheses." 

"But there was something much greater that they lacked. 
They did not have a link to the Intelligence of the Universe. 
Hence the loss of the knowledge which would help improve 
the Earth and govern it. 

"Imagine what would happen if the crew of a super-mod- 
ern spaceship suddenly lost ninety percent of their mental ca- 
pacity Not comprehending anything, they might start taking 
apart the panelling and building a fire in the cabin, or pull in- 
struments out of their consoles to use for toys or decoration. 

"Well, these people can be compared exactly to a dement- 
ed crew like that. And these were the people, these were the 
'handicapped invalids' who first invented the stone axe, then 
the spear, then... And it is their thoughts that 'progressed' 
over time to the invention of nuclear warheads. It is their 
thoughts that even today continue with incredible stubborn- 
ness to tear down already perfect creations and substitute 
their own primitive artifacts. 



222 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"Their descendants started inventing more and more, 
and in doing so kept tearing apart the super-modern, natu- 
ral mechanisms of the Earth and creating all sorts of artifi- 
cial social structures. Then people started fighting with each 
other. 

"These mechanisms, these machines, were incapable of 
existing all by themselves, like natural ones. Not only could 
they not reproduce themselves, but they could not restore 
themselves after a breakdown as a tree can, for example. And 
then they, the technocrats, required a vast army of workers to 
service these mechanisms, virtually transforming a segment 
of the general populace into biological robots. These biologi- 
cal robots, lacking as they do, any individual capacity to learn 
the truth, very easily lend themselves to manipulation. 

"For example, they were all too easily injected, through 
artificial information media, with the programme 'We must 
build communism' — symbols were created for it, including 
lapel pins and flags of a certain colour. Then later, through 
these same media, the programme 'Communism is bad' was 
inculcated in another segment of the populace, and other 
symbols and colours were brought to the fore. And then 
these two groups with different programming end up hating 
each other, right to the point of physical annihilation. 

"But this all began ten thousand years ago, at the time of 
a significant increase in the number of people deprived of a 
link to the Great Intelligence. Indeed, you could even call 
them demented, since there was not a single living creature 
capable of polluting the Earth the way they did. 

"In those far-off times a few people were still left who had 
free access to the wisdom of the Universe. They hoped that 
when mankind reached the point that the polluted air made 
it difficult to breathe and the water became dangerous to 
drink, and all its artificially created life-support systems — 
technological and social — proved themselves too awkward 



Tour sacred sites, Russia! 223 

and more and more often only led to disastrous imbalances, 
mankind would start having second thoughts. 

"People standing on the edge of an abyss will start think- 
ing about what being is all about, they will start pondering 
the meaning of their existence and purpose. Then many of 
them will desire to understand the truth of their pristine ori- 
gins, and this is possible — but only under the absolute con- 
dition that the abilities inherent in Man's pristine origins be 
restored. 

"Few of the people who lived ten thousand years ago still 
possessed these abilities. It was basically those heading up 
social groups, leaders of tribes. They began — or rather, at 
their behest people began — to construct special facilities 
made of heavy stone slabs. These enclosed an interior cham- 
ber about one-and-a-half by two metres in area and two me- 
tres in height — sometimes more, sometimes less. The slabs 
were placed at a slight angle, leaning toward the centre at the 
top. Occasionally these chambers would be hewn out of a sin- 
gle monolith. Other chambers might be hidden underground 
and covered over by mounds of earth. On one of the walls of 
the chamber, a cone-shaped opening was cut into the slab, ap- 
proximately thirty centimetres in diameter and covered with 
a specially fitted stone plug. 

"Into these tomb-chambers would go people who had not 
lost the ability to communicate with the wisdom of the Uni- 
verse. Those still alive and even those who might be born 
thousands of years hence would be able to go to them and 
obtain answers to any questions that were of interest to Man. 
This required sitting beside the chamber and meditating. 
Sometimes the answer would come right away, sometimes af- 
ter a delay, but it would definitely come, since these structures 
and those that retreated into them served as an information 
receiver. Through them it was easier to communicate with 
the Great Intelligence of the Universe. 



224 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

"These stone structures are the prototype of the Egyptian 
pyramids. Only the pyramids do not constitute nearly as pow- 
erful a receiver, even though they are far greater in size. Their 
essence and function, however, is pretty much the same. 

"The pharaohs who were buried in the Egyptian pyramids 
were also thinkers, and at least partially preserved the abili- 
ties inherent in Man's pristine origins. 

"But in order to obtain an answer to a question using the 
pyramids, those still living had to come to the pyramid not 
individually, but in large numbers. They had to stand along 
each of the four sides, and direct their physical and mental 
gaze upward, as though skimming over the pyramid's oblique 
sides right to its top. 

"There at the top, people's gazes and thoughts focused on a 
single point, consequently forming a channel facilitating con- 
tact with the Mind of the Universe. 

"Even today it is possible to do the same thing and obtain a 
desired answer. At the focal point of everyone's mental gaze 
an energy forms, an energy not unlike radiation. If a measuring 
device were placed at the top of the pyramid, right at the focal 
point, it would record the intensity of this energy The people 
standing at the base, too, would feel strange sensations. 

"Oh, if it were not for the sinful pride of people today, the 
prevailing public opinion, the false perception that past civi- 
lisations were less advanced! People today would then be able 
to find out the real purpose of the pyramids. With all the at- 
tention modern researchers have paid to how they were built, 
they still have not been able to figure this out. 

'And it is all so simple: in constructing the pyramids, apart 
from physical strength and various pieces of equipment, they 
always used mental energy to reduce the force of gravitation. 
Whole groups of people with this kind of an ability would as- 
sist the builders. There are people alive today who are able to 
move small objects with their will. 



Jour sacred sites, Russia! 225 

"But of immeasurably greater significance than the pyra- 
mids in terms of contact with the Mind of the Universe were 
the smaller stone structures which preceded them." 

"Why, Anastasia?" I asked. "Because of the way they were 
constructed, their shape?" 

"Because, Vladimir, living people retreated there to die. 
And their death was a most unusual one. They went into eter- 
nal meditation." 

"What do you mean, living people? What for?" 

"To create for their descendants the possibility of bring- 
ing back the power of their pristine origins. An elderly per- 
son — as a rule, one of the wiser leaders or founders of a tribe, 
sensing his end was near, would ask his relatives and family to 
place him in a stone chamber. If he were considered worthy, 
they would grant his request. 

"They would push away the heavy massive slab covering 
the top of the chamber. He would go into the stone cham- 
ber and the slab would be pushed back into place. Inside, the 
Man would be completely isolated from the external mate- 
rial world. His eyes would see nothing, his ears would hear 
nothing. Such complete isolation, the impossibility of even 
entertaining a thought about going back, but not yet having 
crossed into the next world, the deactivation of the usual or- 
gans of feeling, sight and hearing, would open up the oppor- 
tunity for full communication with the Mind of the Universe 
and the comprehension of many phenomena, as well as of 
many of the actions of Earth-dwellers. Most important of all, 
they would be able to subsequently transmit what they had 
discovered to those still alive, as well as to succeeding genera- 
tions. Today you would call an approximation of such a state 
of mind meditation. But that is merely child's play in compari- 
son with meditation in eternity 

'Afterward, people would come to this stone chamber, 
pull out the plug covering the opening, and begin thinking, 



226 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

mentally consulting with the thoughts lingering in the cham- 
ber. The spirit of wisdom was always there." 

"But, Anastasia, by what means can you prove the existence 
of such structures to those of us living today, let alone the fact 
that people went into them for 'eternal meditation?" 

"I can! That is why I am telling you." 

"Then how?" 

"It is very simple. After all, these chambers made of 
stone — they still exist today Today you call them dolmens? 
You can see them, and touch them. And you can verify every- 
thing I have told you." 

"What??? Where? Can you pinpoint their location?" 

"Yes, I can. In Russia, for example, in the Caucasus moun- 
tains, not far from the cities you now call Gelendzhik, Tuapse, 
Novorossiysk and Sochi." 6 

"I can verify that. I'll make a special trip there. I still can't 
believe such things exist. I'll definitely check to see." 

"Do verify, by all means. The local inhabitants know about 
them, but they do not pay any attention to them. Many dol- 
mens have already been plundered. People do not understand 
their true purpose. They do not know about the possibili- 
ties they afford for contact with the wisdom of the Universe. 
Those who have entered into eternal meditation can never be 
re-embodied in anything material. They have sacrificed eter- 
nity for the sake of their descendants, and now it turns out 
their knowledge and opportunities have gone begging. This 
has caused them great sorrow and anguish. 

'As for proof that in the past living people went into these 
dolmens to die, this may be confirmed by the position of the 



^dolmens — see Book i, Chapter 30: 'Author's message to readers". 

Gelendzhik, Tuapse, Novorossiysk, Sochi — cities on the eastern shore of the 
Black Sea. 



Tour sacred sites, O Russia! 227 

skeletal bones discovered in them. Some were found in a re- 
clining position, others sitting in a corner or semi-reclining, 
leaning against one of the stone slabs. 

"This fact has been attested by people today. It has been 
described by your scientists, but they still have not attrib- 
uted any special significance to it. No serious studies of the 
dolmens have been undertaken. The dolmens are being laid 
waste by the local inhabitants. Some of them have been using 
their stone slabs for construction of new buildings." 

Anastasia sorrowfully lowered her head and fell silent. I 
promised her: 

"I will tell them what you said. I'll explain everything to 
them so they won't go on plundering and laying waste. They 
won't mock them any more. They simply didn't know..." 

"Do you think you will manage to convince them?" 

"I'll try. I'll go to these places and try to explain. I don't 
know quite how at the moment. I'll find these dolmens, pay 
my respects to them, and explain it all to the people." 

"That would be good. Then, if you are going to those plac- 
es, please pay your respects to the dolmen in which my fore- 
mother died." 

'Astonishing! How do you know that your foremother 
lived in these places and how she died?" 

Anastasia replied: 

"How could one not know, Vladimir, how one's ancestors 
lived and what they did? How could one not be aware of their 
desires and aspirations? My ancient foremother certainly de- 
serves to be remembered. All the mothers in my family since 
then have learnt of her wisdom. And she continues to help 
me today 

"My foremother was a woman who had perfect knowl- 
edge of how to inculcate in her child, through breast-feeding, 
the ability to communicate with the Mind of the Universe. 
Even back in her time people were starting to ignore the 



228 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

significance of this, just as people ignore it today: In breast- 
feeding an infant the mother should never allow herself to be 
distracted by random thoughts, but concentrate all her atten- 
tion on her child. My foremother knew what to think about 
and how, and consequently wanted to share her knowledge 
with everyone. 

"She was not yet that old when she started asking the 
leader about being placed in a dolmen. This was because the 
leader was getting old and she knew his successor would not 
accede to her request. Women were rarely permitted to go 
into a dolmen. The old leader revered my foremother and 
had great respect for her knowledge, and he gave his consent. 
Only he could not compel any menfolk to push back the dol- 
men's heavy stone slab and then reseal it once my foremother 
had entered. Consequently this task had to be carried out by 
women, and women alone. 

"But nobody comes to visit my foremother's dolmen any 
more. People are not interested in what she knows. And she 
so desperately wanted to share it with everybody. She wanted 
children to be happy and a joy to their parents." 

"Anastasia, if you wish, I shall go visit this dolmen and ask 
her how to breast-feed infants — ask her what to think along 
this line and how. Just tell me where it's located." 

"Fine, I shall tell you. Only you will not be able to compre- 
hend her response. You are not a nursing mother, after all. 
You do not know what a breast-feeding mother feels. Only 
women, nursing mothers, are in a position to understand. 
Just go to the dolmen, go up to it and touch it. Think some 
good thought about my foremother — she will like that." 

For some time neither of us said a word. I was amazed at 
how detailed her explanations were regarding the exact loca- 
tion of the dolmens — enough information for me to subse- 
quently verify, and I was not about to raise any farther doubts 
about their existence. I did ask her, however, to show me 



Tour sacred sites, O Russia! 229 

some proof of the possibility of contact with the invisible and 
still incomprehensible (to me) 'wisdom of the Universe'. To 
which Anastasia responded: 

"Vladimir, if you keep on doubting everything I say, any 
proof I have to offer will seem incomprehensible and uncon- 
vincing to you. And I shall have to spend a great deal of time 
explaining." 

"Don't be offended, Anastasia — it's just that your unusual 
lifestyle as a recluse..." 

"How can you call me a recluse when I have the opportuni- 
ty to communicate not only with everyone and everything on 
Earth but with significantly more? So many on Earth are sur- 
rounded by utterly lonely people just like themselves. These 
are real hermit-recluses. It is not that frightening to be alone. 
It is much more frightening when one is lonely even when 
surrounded by people." 

"But still," I persisted, "if one of our prominent scientists, 
let's say, could talk about that dimension — the one where, 
as you say, thoughts produced by human civilisations reside, 
people would be more inclined to believe than just on your 
say-so. That's the way people today are — they look to formal 
science as an authority" 

"There are such scientists — I have seen their thoughts. I 
cannot tell you their names. But no doubt they are renowned 
scholars by your standards. They have the capacity for prolif- 
ic thought. You can hunt down the proofs you need when you 
get back, and compare them with everything I have said." 



230 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

Upon arriving in the Caucasus, I located the dolmens in the 
mountains near Gelendzhik. I took some colour photos of 
them. They knew about the dolmens at the local history muse- 
um, only they didn't attach any particular significance to them. 

I also managed to find the dolmen where Anastasia's fore- 
mother was buried. Paying my respects, I laid flowers on the 
moss-covered stone portal. 

As I looked at the dolmens, I realised that here was vis- 
ible and tangible proof of Anastasia's words. By that time I 
had read the account from I Kings" in the Bible about King 
Solomon and his relationship to the cedars of Lebanon. Not 
being much of a scholar myself, I wasn't about to leaf through 
a whole lot of scientific works trying to find confirmation of 
Anastasia's words. But by extraordinary coincidences this 
young recluse from the remote Siberian taiga seemed to be 
able to confirm — from a distance — the truth of everything 
she said, and in the language of modern science. People took 
it upon themselves to bring or send to me scientific studies 
dealing with the existence of the Mind of the Universe. 

At the beginning of the book I cited the conclusions of two 
academicians — Vlail Kaznacheev, member of the Russian 
Academy of Medical Sciences and director of the Institute of 
Clinical and Experimental Medicine, and Anatoly Akimov of 
the International Institute of Theoretical and Applied Phys- 
ics in the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences — published 
in the May 1996 issue of Chudesa i prikliuchenia (Wonders and 
adventures). 



7 See I Kings, Chapters 4-10. 



Tour sacred sites, Russia! 231 

I have been writing this chapter about the sacred sites of Ge- 
lendzhik right in the city itself. The text has been keyboarded 
into the computer by an employee of the Druzhba (Friend- 
ship) Sanatorium, Marina Davydovna Slabkina. Prior to its 
publication in the book it was gone over by employees of the 
sanatorium. And something interesting has happened. 

On 26 November 1996 at 10:30 in the morning (Moscow 
time) an event occurred which did not have any obvious claim 
to significance, although I am certain that it will prove to be 
of planetary proportions. 

A group of women were making their way toward one of 
the dolmens in the mountains near the settlement of Pshada 8 
in the Gelendzhik district. They were all employees of the 
Druzhba Sanatorium: V.T Larionova, N.M. Gribanova, 
L.S. Zvegintseva, T.N. Zaitseva, T.N. Kurovskaya, A.G. Taras- 
ova, L.N. Romanova and M.D. Slabkina. 

In contrast to the tourists that sometimes visit these 
places to admire their natural beauty and gawk at this lonely 
mountain dolmen, these people, possibly for the first time in 
a millennium, came to the dolmen for the specific purpose of 
honouring the memory of their ancient forebear. To honour 
the memory of a person who lived more than ten thousand 
years ago. A wise leader of his people who, at his own initia- 
tive, was sealed into this stone crypt. Alive, so that over the 
millennia he could share the wisdom of the Universe with his 
descendants. 

It is difficult to say for just how many millennia his efforts 
went begging. Traces of our own era's atrocities are seared 
into the ancient slabs in the form of modern graffiti and the 
forcibly enlarged aperture in the dolmen's portal. Visitors to 



Pshada — the name not only of a settlement, but also of a river and its 
valley. The seventy-plus Pshada dolmens are considered to be the prime 
examples of megalith architecture in the whole Caucasus. 



232 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

the dolmen, at least over the past century, have thought lit- 
tle about its significance — about the person buried here, his 
wisdom, his desire and aspiration to sacrifice his life for the 
living. This is all eloquently attested in a number of pre-revo- 
lutionary as well as more recent monographs I have seen. 

Scientists, researchers and archaeologists have been more 
interested in the dimensions of the dolmen itself, amazed and 
eager to determine how the multi-tonne slabs were prepared 
and put in place. 

And now... I looked at the women standing by the dol- 
men with the flowers they had brought to lay at the portal, 
and thought to myself: How many centuries or even millen- 
nia have passed since you last received flowers, O illustrious 
ancestor?! What does your soul feel now? What is happening 
this very moment in the astral world? Have you, our distant 
and yet so close forebears, taken these flowers as the first sign 
that your efforts were not in vain? And among people today, 
your descendants, there is an aspiration toward living one's 
life with greater conscious awareness. These are but the first 
flowers. No doubt there will be more and more. But the first 
ones are the most desirable, and you will be helping those 
who are now living attain the wisdom of the Universe and the 
conscious awareness of being. You are our distant forebears. 

Participants in this visit to the dolmen included the sanitary 
inspector of the Gelendzhik health service E.I. Pokrovsky 
He had been invited by Valentina Larionova, in her capacity 
as local tour guide and museum curator, to accompany them 
and measure the dolmen's radioactivity 

Ms Larionova told me that once on an excursion she had 
led to this dolmen, a tourist had brought along a Geiger coun- 
ter, which had showed a significant level of radiation. This 
individual later took her aside (so as not to alarm the other 
tourists), showed her the counter and told her about the pres- 
ence of radioactivity at the dolmen. 



Tour sacred sites, O Russia! 233 

This time the health service inspector had brought along 
a fairly accurate radiation meter in its own special case. He 
began measuring radiation levels even before we got close to 
the dolmen, and continued his readings right up to the dol- 
men itself and even inside. 

While Ms Larionova was giving her talk to the group of 
women, I was seized by the fear that now this medical inspec- 
tor would announce the results of his measurements for all to 
hear, and as this would not just be a tourist's observation, but 
an official conclusion, people might stop coming to visit the 
dolmen once they learnt of the elevated radiation levels. 

Anastasia had told me that this radiation-like energy could 
come and go. It was controllable and could have a beneficial ef- 
fect on Man. But how would we, people of the modern world, 
look upon the opinions of this (let's admit) not very typical 
woman, in contrast with the affirmations of modern science 
and facts established by modern scientific equipment — espe- 
cially concerning radiation, which Man is so fearful of today? 

Oh God, I thought, poor Anastasia! She wanted so much, 
after all, for people to take a different attitude, a more 
thoughtful attitude toward these ancient, extraordinary bur- 
ial places of our ancestors. And now there would be an offi- 
cial pronouncement. Even in the best case, it would mean no 
more visitors to the dolmens. In the worst case they might 
be destroyed altogether. People wouldn't even use them any 
longer for construction as they had done before. But if this 
Mind of the Universe really exists, if Anastasia can use it so 
freely, then they'd better come up with something, at least. 

Pokrovsky approached the group of employees standing by 
the dolmen and announced the readings on the meter. They 
were most extraordinary I felt overwhelmed — first with 
amazement, and then with joy. According to the readings, 
the closer one got to the dolmen, the more the Earth's back- 
ground radiation... decreased! 



234 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

This was all the more remarkable since, on its way to the 
dolmen, our group had passed through areas of elevated ra- 
dioactivity. One would have expected the people standing at 
the dolmen — their clothing, shoes, etc. — to have retained 
traces of this radiation. But, in spite of this, the measuring 
device still showed decreased levels. It was as though an in- 
visible someone had said: "Do not be afraid of us, people. 
We are your distant forebears. We wish you well. Take our 
knowledge, children!" 

And all at once I realised — Anastasia! This phenomenon 
must be attributable directly to her. Yes, definitely to her. 
Even though she was thousands of kilometres away, she had 
drawn an invisible line across the millennia, linking those liv- 
ing today with an ancient civilisation, thereby causing a surge 
in people's consciousness of an aspiration toward good. Even 
if it were just among a small group of people, it was still a be- 
ginning. And it was something absolutely real, since here in 
front of me was a real dolmen, and here were real and tangible 
women, and real flowers that they had brought. 

According to scientific literature, dolmens are to be found 
near Tuapse, Sochi and Novorossiysk, as well as in England, 
Turkey, North Africa and India. This points to the existence 
of an ancient civilisation with a single culture, whose mem- 
bers could communicate over vast distances. As Anastasia's 
information reaches more and more people, their attitude 
toward whatever other dolmens have been preserved will no 
doubt change. 

This is evidenced by the reaction of the people of Ge- 
lendzhik. Indeed, the world's first excursion to a dolmen fol- 
lowing Anastasia's amazing revelations about them took place 
at Gelendzhik, led by Valentina Larionova, "the luckiest and 
happiest woman alive", as she describes herself. And here was 
a woman with thirty years' experience as a tour guide, and a 
member of the Gelendzhik city council to boot. 



Tour sacred sites, O Russia! 235 

But that's not all. Under Ms Larionova's guidance, a group 
of local historians began comparing already known facts; they 
spoke with long-term residents of the area and read biogra- 
phies of saints, all of which enabled them to confirm the ex- 
istence in the Gelendzhik environs of the sacred sites Anas- 
tasia had spoken of. These were unique sacred sites of Russia, 
most of which were not even mentioned in a single tourist 
brochure. They included the Lebanese cedar, St Nina's moun- 
tain, a monastery and the Sacred Hand Springs. 9 People who 
are healed there tie a cloth ribbon around a tree. 

In the Gelendzhik area a church is now being restored. A 
branch of the Trinity-Sergiev Monastery is under construc- 
tion. I observed all this and thought to myself: Look at all 
these sacred sites in just one small corner of Russia! Springs 
of healing waters. And here Russians are traipsing off to the 
ends of the earth to worship other people's gods. How many 
still forgotten sacred sites are waiting to be discovered in oth- 
er parts of Russia? And who will discover them? 

I've done what I can. It's a pittance, of course, but at last it 
has given me some hope that Anastasia will show me our son. 
So, armed with rompers, toys and baby food, I set off for the 
Siberian taiga to once again see Anastasia and meet my son. 

To be continued... 



Sacred Hand Springs — the reference here is to five springs which merge at 
one point to form the shape of a hand. 



ii Aiiastasia's Ray 



Taking advantage of the frosty weather which had put a near- 
by lake under a thick shield of ice, I spent a Sunday afternoon 
skating with my daughter. The sky was overcast and a chilly 
north wind was blowing, but layers of winter clothing and en- 
ergetic movement kept us warm. The same day, 26 December 
2004, a local newspaper reported temperatures below io°F 
(-i2°C) and featured an article on ice fishing. 

Five days later, on New Year's Eve, we were having tea on 
the porch of our house, basking in the Sun's hot rays and 
watching our daughter in her summer dress smelling yellow 
dandelions and feeding honey to a bee that had joined our 
meal. After breakfast we went for a walk by the lake, only 
to discover no traces of ice whatsoever. The Sun's heat was 
so intense that the temperature in the shade climbed to 6fF 
(i8°C) and a new and historic record high was set. The news- 
paper printed photographs of residents of Columbia, Mis- 
souri, wearing shorts and T-shirts, enjoying the outdoors on 
31 December 2004, and commented on the "unseasonably 
warm weather". 

And then I remembered the words Anastasia had ad- 
dressed to Vladimir Megre nine years earlier: 1 

I am making it happen. . . . Can you not feel the gentle touch 
of the breeze, feel its caressing embrace? And the warm 
touch of the Sun's glistening rays on your face? Can you 

Book 2, Chapter 25: "The Space of Love" (my italics). 



Editor's Afterword 237 

not hear the birds singing so cheerfully and the leaves rus- 
tling on the tree you are sitting under?... Love dissolved in 
Space for one can touch the hearts of many. 

I could not hear any rustling of leaves since it was the mid- 
dle of winter, but the warm breeze, the bird songs and the 
Sun's generous warmth were very real indeed. Anyone who 
witnessed this unique outpouring of sunshine in the middle 
of the Midwest winter could not help but sense something 
unusual in the air, but I felt I knew something special about 
the cause of this sudden weather change. It was on this day, 31 
December 2004, that the English translation of Anastasia was 
completed, and it seemed as if Nature were rejoicing at the 
birth of the book, the same way it had celebrated the birth of 
Anastasia's son with a warm sunny day, pushing away the icy 
grip of the Siberian winter in 1996. 

A few days later, when the Anastasia text was laid out and 
sent to the printer, the cold returned and newspapers were re- 
plete with stories of ice storms and snowfalls, but the feeling 
of a great accomplishment lingered, to take embodiment first 
in the printed book, then in the e-mails and telephone calls of 
its initial readers. Here is one e-mail I received: 

A friend gave me the book Anastasia. I read it today out- 
doors while the sun shone warmly and the birds sang sweet- 
ly My heart knows such an essence as her spirit and I am 
still basking in the glow of the presence.... 

After reading that Anastasia suffered a loss in strength 
after helping someone, I decided to send her distant reiki. 2 I 

reiki — a technique of holistic healing combining elements of spiritual heal- 
ing, meditation, balancing of energies, homoeopathy and other approaches. 
The healing process involves transfer of energy (reiki) from the practitioner 
to the patient. While reiki practitioners usually use hands to channel the 
energy, it can also be accomplished at a distance by mental concentration. 



238 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

know from experimenting with my kids that it has a healing 
effect. Immediately after sending the distant reiki I 'heard' 
her say 'thank you'. Today I sent her distant reiki again. Soon 
after I was finished, I began smelling the sweetest scent of 
a flower, and the scent went into all my sinuses. My sinuses 
feel different now I feel such an inexpressible feeling of 
love and joy It is like being in love, but in a totally different 
way If you were here right now I would hug you and let you 
feel it. Thank you for this sweet and precious gift. 

Even as this and other heart-warming messages showed me 
that the book is producing the same response among Eng- 
lish-speaking readers as in other parts of the world, I was still 
wary of the welcome the translated edition ofAnastasia would 
receive in professional and academic circles. But the first im- 
pressions shared with me by its early readers — students of 
psychology, Russian literature, forestry, ecology, sociology and 
philosophy — are most encouraging. One scholar, after read- 
ing just the first chapter, asked me if she could have a pendant 
of cedar wood... 

Dr Richard Bolstad, a psychologist from New Zealand and 
author of RESOLVE: a new NLP model of therapy? was quick 
to recognise the value of the book for his professional field 
and described the Ringing Cedars Series as "ecological com- 
mon sense and profound wisdom delivered with love, a unique 
Russian gift towards the needed healing of the whole planet 
and the creation of space for love in our lives". 

Steven Foster, the 'Echinacea guru', one of the leading 
experts on medicinal plants in North America, author of A 
field guide to medicinal plants and herbs 4 and other books, after 

3 Williston (Vermont), USA & Carmarthen, Wales: Crown House, 2002. 

4 Several volumes in the Peterson Field Guide Series, published by Hough- 
ton Mifflin, New York. 



Editors Afterword 239 

sharing many of his personal experiences corroborating Anas- 
tasia's sayings about the spiritual link between Man and Na- 
ture, had this comment about the Series: 

The Ringing Cedars Series will impact a new generation of 
readers, like the works of Carlos Castaneda did for a pre- 
vious generation — only this time through awakening the 
latent spiritual connection each of us has with nature. This 
is not about a walk in the woods, rather these books cata- 
pult us to an entirely new way of being on planet Earth. 

I also discovered from informal talks with my colleagues 
that many foresters have psychic experiences in the forest, 
but keep silent for fear of being ridiculed by their peers. One 
colleague who manages thousands of acres of forest in the 
Ozarks confessed to me in a private conversation that when 
marking trees to be felled he communicated with the Intel- 
ligence governing the trees and had a deep reverence for the 
Life manifest in them. 5 

I am all the more happy to hear these accounts in view of 
the fact that they are a sincere expression of readers' actual 
feelings, rather than a formulation developed by a well-paid 
marketing specialist and put into the mouths of celebrities, 
as often happens in current practice in the publishing indus- 
try. These and all other reviews of the Ringing Cedars Se- 
ries I have received are genuine, they come straight from the 
heart. 

One of the faculty members at the University of Missouri 
surprised me by saying he already knew about Anastasia and 
the impact these books were producing around the world. 



5 He therefore removes only the least healthy and vital trees, leaving the best 
ones to grow — the opposite of the destructive forestry practices prevalent 
over the last century 



240 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

It turned out he had learnt about the Ringing Cedars Series 
from his aunt who lived in Germany and had read the best- 
selling German translation. He said she had been so greatly 
impressed by the books that she would call him from Germa- 
ny and read entire chapters, in German, over the telephone. 
This story made me wonder as to how many aunts call their 
nephews on the other side of the globe to read a chapter from 
a book they particularly liked. Not very many, I would im- 
agine. Which means a book that does elicit such a response 
must certainly possess a power to set hearts aflame, regardless 
of the language in which it is read. 

I became even more confident about the Ringing Cedars' 
power to transcend national boundaries after I received the 
following message from Europe from Nara Petrovic, editor 
of the Slovenian translation of the Series. This is what he 
wrote: 

Without any advertisement the book became a best-sell- 
er mainly by readers spreading the news from mouth to 
mouth. In many libraries the waiting lists were soon get- 
ting longer and longer and in bookstores the sales were 
very good.... 

Thousands of readers in Slovenia and Croatia are more 
than enthusiastic about the books. Whoever has read the 
books and has a vegetable garden was compelled — even 
out of sheer curiosity — to try out the ideas explained in 
the first book. And when I spoke to people they confirmed 
that everything works. One man even called us and told 
us that he had made a beehive according to Anastasia's de- 
tailed instructions and was amazed at how well it worked. 

One of the publisher's relatives spent a lot of time in his 
garden even before he read the books. He loved to work in 
the garden and thus had cultivated very healthy and tasty 
crops. But after he implemented Anastasia's instructions 



Editor's Afterword 241 

the tomatoes and some other vegetables yielded so well 
that all of his relatives and friends were surprised by the 
tastiest vegetables they'd ever eaten. 

One lady who lives near my city planted pumpkins for 
the first time in her garden according to Anastasia's in- 
structions. That year there was a great drought. All her 
neighbours' gardens were dry, with very little vegetables, 
while the pumpkins in her garden were huge, although she 
took almost no care of them. 

I also have accounts of people in North America who — af- 
ter either reading the Russian version or learning about Anas- 
tasia's ideas from their Russian friends — have followed her 
advice on gardening to obtain remarkable results. This is very 
encouraging. In the light of how all the 'incredible' revela- 
tions of the Series have been playing out in real life, there is 
no escaping the fact that 

Your dream, Anastasia, is entering upon our world, and it 
really seems as though our world is beginning to change. 
There are certain people who feel and understand you — 
they show evidence of new strength coming from some- 
where, and that is changing the world. The world is be- 
coming just a little better. 6 

In this English-speakers are no different from other read- 
ers that embraced Anastasia's ideas earlier: "The book you 
have written will circulate all over the world and... it will give 
you and others a power greater than mere physical or mate- 
rial strength." 7 The only difference is that in Russia and other 



Book 2, Chapter 25: "The Space of Love". 
'Book 2, Chapter 26: 'Anastasia's grandfather". 



242 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

countries the dream has been unfolding for a number of 
years now, while America, along with the rest of the English- 
speaking world, is at the very beginning of this radiant path 
which it may now choose to follow. Wes Jackson, a well- 
known proponent of ecological approaches to agriculture in 
the United States and director of the Land Institute, has pas- 
sionately argued in his writings that there is no other possible 
way of development for this country but a return to the land. 
What if he is right and there is indeed no other way? Then 
it is probably not by chance that two of the central chapters 
in Vladimir Megre's eighth book, The new civilisation, convey 
Anastasia's vision of America's future. A beautiful one. 

Even as my family are now packing up, getting ready to 
move from Columbia to a small farm lost amidst the beautiful 
Ozark mountains — with an aspiration, apart from continu- 
ing work on the Ringing Cedars Series, to live their ideas in 
real life — I have an ever-growing feeling of awe at the clear 
realisation that what Anastasia dreamt about is already com- 
ing to pass in America as well. It is coming to pass. 

Within the two months since Anastasia was published in 
English there have already been two artistic performances 
of dance and song inspired by her. The dancer — a young 
breast-feeding mother and a future midwife — told me how 
her heart had instantly felt and accepted Anastasia's essence 
as her own, and how she now feels her presence and support 
on the path she is following. She told me she felt herself sim- 
ply overflowing with the energy of Love and wanted to share 
it with everybody. Then, as she described her captivating 
dance and song as 'butterfly women', I stared at her in awe, 
experiencing a strange sensation in my heart and head. The 
remarkable thing is that I have a large painting by Alexan- 
der Razboinikov (who designed the cover art for the Series) 
hanging on the wall in my home. This painting — called The 
butterfly dance — depicts Anastasia dancing in a whirlwind of 



Editor's Afterword 243 

butterflies and is inspired by Book 3, The Space of Love, which 
has not been translated as yet! 

But The Space of Love is being translated and is scheduled 
to see the light on 23 July 2005, a day on which 'Dachnik Day' 
and an All-Earth holiday' will be celebrated in America for 
the first time, true to Anastasia's promise: "This holiday will 
indeed begin in Russia. But then it will become the most fan- 
tastic holiday for the world as a whole". 9 

And then, "a wave of warmth will cheer the heart, and over 
the world will be unfurled a new dawn". 10 I can already see 
the twilight of this dawn. And I know that I am not the only 
one who does. 



Columbia, Missouri, U.S.A. 

Earth Day (22 April 2005) Leonid Sharashkin 



At that moment I could very well relate to Vladimir Megre's feelings — de- 
scribed in the first chapter of this volume — as he witnessed the unfolding 
of Anastasia's dream and watched readers expressing in art the images and 
scenes from his taiga experience which had not yet been described in the 
books. 

9 Book 2, Chapter 9: "Dachnik Day and an All-Earth holiday!". 

Book 2, Chapter 32: "Title!". 



ABOUT THE RINGING CEDARS SERIES 

Anastasia, the first book of the Ringing Cedars Series, tells the 
story of entrepreneur Vladimir Megre's trade trip to the Siberian 
taiga in 1995, where he witnessed incredible spiritual phenomena 
connected with sacred 'ringing cedar' trees. He spent three days 
with a woman named Anastasia who shared with him her unique 
outlook on subjects as diverse as gardening, child-rearing, healing, 
Nature, sexuality, religion and more. This wilderness experience 
transformed Vladimir so deeply that he abandoned his commercial 
plans and, penniless, went to Moscow to fulfil Anastasia's request 
and write a book about the spiritual insights she so generously 
shared with him. True to her promise this life-changing book, once 
written, has become an international bestseller and has touched 
hearts of millions of people world-wide. 

The Ringing Cedars of Russia, the second book of the Series, in 
addition to providing a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the 
story of how Anastasia came to be published, offers a deeper explo- 
ration of the universal concepts so dramatically revealed in Book 1. 
It takes the reader on an adventure through the vast expanses of 
space, time and spirit — - from the Paradise-like glade in the Sibe- 
rian taiga to the rough urban depths of Russia's capital city, from the 
ancient mysteries of our forebears to a vision of humanity's radiant 
future. 

The Space of Love, the third book of the Series, describes author's 
second visit to Anastasia. Rich with new revelations on natural 
child-rearing and alternative education, on the spiritual significance 
of breast-feeding and the meaning of ancient megaliths, it shows 
how each person's thoughts can influence the destiny of the entire 
Earth and describes practical ways of putting Anastasia's vision of 
happiness into practice. Megre shares his new outlook on educa- 
tion and children's real creative potential after a visit to a school 
where pupils build their own campus and cover the ten-year Russian 
school programme in just two years. Complete with an account of 
an armed intrusion into Anastasia's habitat, the book highlights the 
limitless power of Love and non-violence. 



Co-creation, the fourth book and centrepiece of the Series, paints a 
dramatic living image of the creation of the Universe and humani- 
ty's place in this creation, making this primordial mystery relevant 
to our everyday living today. Deeply metaphysical yet at the same 
time down-to-Earth practical, this poetic heart- felt volume helps us 
uncover answers to the most significant questions about the essence 
and meaning of the Universe and the nature and purpose of our ex- 
istence. It also shows how and why the knowledge of these answers, 
innate in every human being, has become obscured and forgotten, 
and points the way toward reclaiming this wisdom and — in part- 
nership with Nature — manifesting the energy of Love through our 
lives. 



are we? — Book Five of the Series — describes the author's 
search for real-life 'proofs' of Anastasia's vision presented in the 
previous volumes. Finding these proofs and taking stock of ongo- 
ing global environmental destruction, Vladimir Megre describes 
further practical steps for putting Anastasia's vision into practice. 
Full of beautiful realistic images of a new way of living in co-opera- 
tion with the Earth and each other, this book also highlights the role 
of children in making us aware of the precariousness of the present 
situation and in leading the global transition toward a happy, vio- 
lence-free society 

The book of kin, the sixth book of the Series, describes another 
visit by the author to Anastasia's glade in the Siberian taiga and his 
conversations with his growing son, which cause him to take a new 
look at education, science, history, family and Nature. Through 
parables and revelatory dialogues and stories Anastasia then leads 
Vladimir Megre and the reader on a shocking re-discovery of the 
pages of humanity's history that have been distorted or kept secret 
for thousands of years. This knowledge sheds light on the causes of 
war, oppression and violence in the modern world and guides us in 
preserving the wisdom of our ancestors and passing it over to future 
generations. 

The energy of life, Book Seven of the Series, re-asserts the power 
of human thought and the influence of our thinking on our lives 



and the destiny of the entire planet and the Universe. Is also brings 
forth a practical understanding of ways to consciously control and 
build up the power of our creative thought. The book sheds still 
further light on the forgotten pages of humanity's history, on reli- 
gion, on the roots of inter-racial and inter-religious conflict, on ideal 
nutrition, and shows how a new way of thinking and a lifestyle in 
true harmony with Nature can lead to happiness and solve the per- 
sonal and societal problems of crime, corruption, misery, conflict, 
war and violence. 

The new civilisation, the eighth book of the Series, is not yet com- 
plete. The first part of the book, already published as a separate 
volume, describes yet another visit by Vladimir Megre to Anastasia 
and their son, and offers new insights into practical co-operation 
with Nature, showing in ever greater detail how Anastasia's lifestyle 
applies to our lives. Describing how the visions presented in previ- 
ous volumes have already taken beautiful form in real life and pro- 
duced massive changes in Russia and beyond, the author discerns 
the birth of a new civilisation. The book also paints a vivid image of 
America's radiant future, in which the conflict between the power- 
ful and the helpless, the rich and the poor, the city and the country, 
can be transcended and thereby lead to transformations in both the 
individual and society. 

Rites of Love — Book 8, Part 2 (published as a separate volume) — 
contrasts today's mainstream attitudes to sex, family, childbirth and 
education with our forebears' lifestyle, which reflected their deep 
spiritual understanding of the significance of conception, preg- 
nancy, homebirth and upbringing of the young in an atmosphere of 
love. In powerful poetic prose Megre describes their ancient way 
of life, grounded in love and non-violence, and shows the practica- 
bility of this same approach today. Through the life-story of one 
family, he portrays the radiant world of the ancient Russian Vedic 
civilisation, the drama of its destruction and its re-birth millennia 
later — in our present time. 

To be continued... 



THE AUTHOR, Vladimir Megre, born in 1950, was a well-known 
entrepreneur from a Siberian city of Novosibirsk. According to his 
account, in 1995 — after hearing a fascinating story about the power 
of 'ringing cedars' from a Siberian elder — he organised a trade ex- 
pedition into the Siberian taiga to rediscover the lost technique of 
pressing virgin cedar nut oil containing high curative powers, as well 
as to find the ringing cedar tree. However, his encounter on this trip 
with a Siberian woman named Anastasia transformed him so deep- 
ly that he abandoned his business and went to Moscow to write a 
book about the spiritual insights she had shared with him. Vladimir 
Megre now lives near the city of Vladimir, Russia, 190 km (120 miles) 
east of Moscow. If you wish to contact the author, you may send a 
message to his personal e-mail megre@online.sinor.ru 

THE TRANSLATOR John Woodsworth, born in Vancouver (Brit- 
ish Columbia), has over forty years of experience in Russian-English 
translation, from classical poetry to modern short stories. Since 1982 
he has been associated with the University of Ottawa in Canada as a 
Russian-language teacher, translator and editor, most recently as a Re- 
search Associate and Administrative Assistant with the University's 
Slavic Research Group. Apublished Russian-language poet himself, he 
and his wife — Susan K. Woodsworth — are directors of the Sasquatch 
Literary Arts Performance Series in Ottawa. A Certified Russian- 
English Translator, John Woodsworth is in the process of translating 
the remaining volumes in Vladimir Megre 's Ringing Cedars Series. 

THE EDITOR, Leonid Sharashkin, is writing his doctoral dis- 
sertation on the spiritual, cultural and economic significance of the 
Russian dacha gardening movement, at the University of Missouri at 
Columbia. After receiving a Master's degree in Natural Resources 
Management from Indiana University at Bloomington, he worked for 
two years as Programme Manager at the World Wide Fund for Nature 
(WWF Russia) in Moscow, where he also served as editor of Russia's 
largest environmental magazine, The Panda Times. Together with his 
wife, Irina Sharashkina, he has translated into Russian Small is beauti- 
ful and A guide for the perplexed by E.E Schumacher, The secret life of 
plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, The continuum concept 
by Jean Liedloff and Birth without violence by Frederick Leboyer. 




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Readers' poetry 249 

ANASTASIA'S CALL 
by Eric Dane Mansfield 

My dear, 

why are you so sullen and sad? 
For that is not your place. 
Come and listen to the call, 
to see your original face. 

Dear, all your struggle, and your pain 

is because you have forgotten your name, 

and your own divinity. 

Yes, you are the living trinity, 

I-Is-We, 

the One as three. 

This is where your sovereignty lives, 

and peace is what dominion gives. 

There is a voice, 

calling from the very depths of Nature. 

There is a guide, 

that will lead us away from disaster. 

A voice that echoes true, 

for she speaks only of Reality. 

And her mind is not clouded 

by the obscured views of duality, 

and its images of illusion. 

She is living the solution, 

and showing as she calls 

to each from within the forested walls 

of her love inspired domain. 

Is it Christ, Buddha, Krishna? 

Yes, Anastasia is her name. 



250 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

She is the God-Mother of joy, 

and peace is her constant companion. 

She awaits your response. 

She supports your return, 

to the ways of Veda, 

to the Way of Love. 

For Anastasia has risen above 

the lies and games of self delusion. 

Hers is the way of total inclusion, 

and she does not falter. 

She is not special, or distinct. 
She simply knows how to think 
purely, and she lives as Man. 
Co-creation, as-is, 
that is her simple plan. 

Consecration and devotion 
to the standard of Truth, 
if you answer to her call 
your life will be the proof. 
That all she says, 
and all she is 
you are able to be. 

See, Anastasia is our Self 
living completely free . 

April 2007 



Readers' poetry 251 

ANASTASIA'S WORTH IS OURS 
by Eric Dane Mansfield 

When I came to the forest 

to discover my Self, 

and repair the broken Earth. 

I first glimpsed Her 

atop a golden tree. 

Yet, I knew not of her worth. 

For to value what is unknown 

is to wander away from ego's home, 

and I was not yet ready. 

Yet, my inner pace remained steady 

And so many years later on 
I began to hear her silent song 
of Love for all, 
as All is Love. 

She sits atop the trees above 
because she has transcended lies. 
And the light she offers up so freely 
gives illumination to our skies. 

For she is Advaita alive, here come. 

She is a livingVeda, holy song already sung, 

and she calls to those who hear, 

"Come and join me, have no fear". 

"For we will remain in the forests of joy, 

to plant gardens, raise children, as I, my boy". 

For knowing how to live aright 

shall end this lingering, hopeless night 



252 Book 2: The Ringing Cedars of Russia 

Where darkness claims powers of destruction. 

Yet, where Light already created, 

no construction shall stand. 

For from beyond the temporal realm 

comes this illuminated Man. 

Anastasia, captain at the helm, 

her course true to the divine plan 

of inclusion, co-operation, contemplation. 

See there's no room for condemnation 

of Truth set in stone. 

Living as All, 

come with her and trust 

that you shall not fall. 

For Anastasia is with us. 

So stop, and listen do not fuss, 

or fight about life. 

Accept Anastasia 

as your wife. 

For she is your Self, 

for she is your Self. 

April 2007 



Editor's note: both poems by Eric Dane Mansfield are © 2007 by Eric Dane 
Mansfield and are used by kind permission of the author. 

The publishing team of Ringing Cedars Press sincerely thanks all read- 
ers who shared their impressions, as well as poetry, songs and artwork 
inspired by Anastasia. The Series' editor may be reached by e-mail at 
press@ringingcedars.com 



nr( r* • f '• f rs 1 in • Spirituality/ 

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